9. Kansas-North Carolina, Midwest Region, Sweet 16
There’s nothing like a meeting of two of the sports’ blue bloods, and Kansas-North Carolina would offer a ton of intrigue. The Tar Heels have had a spectacular season, earning a no. 1 seed on the strength of a 27-6 record that included a regular season sweep of Duke.
Things didn’t go as well for Kansas, which opened the year as the no. 1 team in the polls before injuries and leaves wrecked the Jayhawks’ depth. Bill Self’s squad didn’t win the Big 12 for the first time in 14 years, and their 4-seed is the lowest Kansas has received since 2009 when they were a three and got bounced by Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
Any time these two schools meet up is filled with intrigue because of the presence of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, who famously left Kansas to take the post in Chapel Hill. Kansas and North Carolina have faced off three times in the NCAA Tournament since Williams jumped ship, with all three victories going to the Jayhawks.
If they meet again in Kansas City, the Jayhawks would have a significant home-court advantage over the top-seeded Tar Heels. North Carolina may have enough talent to overcome that problem, but it would be a unique challenge for a top seed to overcome in the Sweet 16.