SAN ANTONIO, Texas
North Carolina has the consensus national player of the year in junior forward Tyler Hansbrough, but don't think for even a moment he's a one-man gang. ¶ "They're averaging about 90 a game and he's getting about 23 of them," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "There's still a lot of other points there. Everyone concerns me." ¶ Point well taken, but then that's also equally true of how UNC's Roy Williams, the former longtime Kansas coach, sees the Jayhawks, who have four players averaging between 11.2 and 13.1 points. ¶ "They're a great team," Williams said. "I've said it all year long. I'm so impressed with what they're doing defensively and the balanced scoring."
Juniors Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush can score inside and outside for Kansas, and senior Russell Robinson is an adept passer and defender. North Carolina sophomore Ty Lawson is a blur in transition, sophomore Wayne Ellington is a big-time scorer but can be a streaky 3-point shooter, and junior Marcus Ginyard can flat out shut down people.
Tyler Hansbrough has played like the nation's best in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 28 and had 13 rebounds Saturday in the East Region final against Louisville and hit key outside shots. Sophomore Deon Thompson has been averaging 11.8 points in the tournament, up about three points from his season average. Kansas junior forward Darrell Arthur and senior Darnell Jackson are active at both ends of the floor, but neither has hit for double digits in the past three NCAA games.
Junior forward Danny Green has been playing like a starter for the Tar Heels for much of the season and is the second best 3-point shooter on the team. Senior Quentin Thomas stepped in for an injured Lawson in February has been more confident. Kansas 7-foot senior center Sasha Kaun, from Melbourne's Florida Air Academy, had been a starter much of the past two years and had 13 points in the Midwest Region final against Davidson. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins won the Big 12's Sixth Man award
Bill Self is 140-32 in five years at Kansas, has won the past three conference tournaments and has led his team to at least the Elite Eight three times. But this is his first Final Four. Roy Williams is in his sixth Final Four (four with Kansas) and has won a national title (2005) with the Tar Heels.