The Connecticut Huskies and the Kansas Jayhawks is a matchup that would be fitting for the Final Four. But on Saturday, the two teams will meet in the second round looking to advance to play in the Sweet 16 next week in Louisville, Ky.
Kansas blew out No.16 Austin Peay 105-79 in the first round while UConn came from behind to edge No. 8 Colorado 74-67.
No. 9 Connecticut Huskies (25-10) vs. No.1 Kansas Jayhawks (31-4)
When: 7:45 p.m. ET (Saturday)
Where: Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines)
Line: Kansas -8.5
Keys for Connecticut
Connecticut has a three-headed guard lineup of Daniel Hamilton, Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis and the trio came up big in the win over Colorado, combining for 38 points and 17 rebounds. While the Huskies will need their guards to produce they also will also need forwards Shonn Miller and Phillip Nolan to play well inside.
Keys for Kansas
Kansas’ talent is far superior to UConn’s, but the Jayhawks still need to execute against a well-coached Huskies team that is peaking at the right time. Wayne Selden Jr., Devonte Graham, and Frank Mason III can beat teams from both inside and outside. Forward Perry Ellis is the Jayhawks’ veteran enforcer in the paint who also can score inside. Kansas’ defense also is capable of giving the Huskies problems.
Connecticut entered this year's Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, but that run is about to end. The athleticism of Kansas along with its depth should be enough to give the Jayhawks an edge in this matchup of basketball blue bloods.
Prediction: Kansas 72, Connecticut 63
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.