The Michigan Wolverines are in their first Sweet 16 since 1994, but their rejuvenated success may hit a wall Friday night as they meet the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks at Cowboys Stadium.
Kansas advanced to the Round of 16 for the third straight season after dropping former coach Roy Williams and his North Carolina squad, 70-58.
The Jayhawks overcame a nine-point halftime deficit with a 49-28 second half, thanks to 16 points and 16 rebounds from Jeff Withey, and 22 points from Travis Releford.
Withey also had five blocks, marking his 12th game of the year with at least five swats, while freshman and team-leading scorer Ben McLemore continued a troubling tournament, missing all nine of his field goal attempts.
Turnovers also plagued Kansas, with 22 total, including six by Withey and five from Releford.
The Jayhawks now face a Michigan team that might have found their tournament groove in a 78-53 pummeling of VCU.
Forward Mitch McGary posted 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke rediscovered his shot, scoring 18 points with seven assists.
It was the 6-foot-10 freshman’s first 20-point game of the year, and the sixth game he pulled down 10-plus boards. In two tournament games, McGary is averaging 17 points 11.5 rebounds.
Burke bounced back from a 2-for-12, six point shooting disaster against South Dakota State, though he did have a season-high seven turnovers against VCU.
The victor squares off against either No. 3 Florida or No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast in the South Region final Sunday.
The game tips-off at 7:37 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by TBS, or watch a free live online stream at the NCAA March Madness official site here.
Betting Odds: Kansas is favored by 2 points
Over/Under: 136 points
Prediction: Burke’s turnovers thankfully didn’t cost Michigan against VCU, but could be a problem against Kansas. How McGary fares against the more experienced Withey will be a huge question for both teams. The Jayhawks also need McLemore to snap out of his funk, with Michigan having more offensive weapons like Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III. Look for Michigan to pull out a very close victory and move on.
Predicted Score: Michigan 70, Kansas 67