The North Carolina and Kansas men’s basketball teams are two of the most storied programs in college basketball. They rank second and third in all time wins as Kansas has 2100 and UNC has 2090. The two histories are intertwined as Dean Smith played at Kansas and Roy Williams coached there.
The two teams have only played each other ten times however and half of those contests have been in the NCAA Tournament and another one was in the semifinals of the pre-season NIT. Here’s a detailed history of the series which UNC leads 6-4.
March 23, 1957. Led by 20 points from Lennie Rosenbluth, North Carolina claimed its first NCAA title by beating a Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas team 54-53 in triple overtime. That game was also played in Kansas City, Mo. – just a few blocks from where the Sprint Center sits now – in Municipal Auditorium in front of a crowd of nearly 8,000.
December 11, 1959. In the Tar Heels’ second game of the 1959-60 season, they toppled the Jayhawks 60-49 in Raleigh. That Kansas team was led by forwards Bill Bridges and Wayne Hightower. Lee Shaffer, who averaged more than 18 points per game in the 1959-60 campaign, and Doug Moe were two of the Tar Heels best weapons that season.
December 17, 1960. In the third game in the series, North Carolina finally made the trip to Lawrence but the result was the same as the Tar Heels downed the Jayhawks 78-70 in the middle of a three-game road trip through the mid-west. A young Larry Brown was playing in his fifth game as a Tar Heel that day.
January 3, 1981. Kansas claimed their first victory against the Tar Heels in the series as the Jayhawks snuck by No. 6 UNC 56-55 in Kansas City, Mo. North Carolina caught Kansas in the middle of a nine-game winning streak. That Jayhawk team was led by Darnell Valentine and Al Wood led a UNC team full of young stars including freshmen Sam Perkins and Matt Doherty and sophomore James Worthy.
November 28, 1981. Michael Jordan made his debut as a Tar Heel against an unranked Kansas team in the fall of 1981. Jordan scored 12 points as the Tar Heels won their season opener in Charlotte 74-67. You can watch the whole game on YouTube. That UNC team was ranked No. 1 at the time and went on to with the NCAA title.
March 30, 1991. For the first time since the first ever meeting between the two programs, in 1991 they met in the NCAA tournament. Kansas, the No. 3 seed out of the South, knocked off UNC, the No. 1 seed in the East, 79-73. This was the only game Dean Smith was ever ejected from. The Jayhawks fell in the title game to Duke two days later. This Kansas team was coached by Roy Williams.
April 3, 1993. The 1993 Final Four was loaded with talent. The three winningest programs in NCAA history, UNC, KU and UK, were in New Orleans with the Fab Five from Michigan. Donald Williams led the Tar Heels past Roy Williams’ Kansas squad 78-68 in the National Semifinal and Chris Webber’s infamous timeout helped UNC to the NCAA Title in the Championship game.
November 27, 2002. This game was the last time North Carolina beat Kansas as an unranked UNC team shocked the No. 2 Jayhawks 67-56 in Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the preseason NIT. Rashad McCants went for 25 points and Jawad Williams added 15 to outpace a Kansas team led by Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. This was coach Williams last game on the Kansas side of this series.
April 5, 2008. Roy Williams’ first crack at the Jayhawks is a game that most Tar Heel fans would like to forget. In the National Semifinals – played in the Alamodome in San Antonio – Kansas jumped out all over the Tar Heels and started the game on a 40-12 run. Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers helped Kansas hold on through the second half to claim the 84-66 victory. The Jayhawks won the NCAA title two days later.
March 25, 2012. These two teams met 363 days ago in the Elite 8 of the 2012 tournament. UNC was playing without point guard and lifeblood of the team Kendall Marshall due to a broken bone in his hand. Though Stilman White played well in his absence, handing out seven assists and not turning the ball over once – the Jayhawks’ balance and the efficiency of Tyshawn Taylor put the game out of reach. This game was also played in Missouri, but in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
March 24, 2013. Kansas and North Carolina will meet for the 11th time tomorrow. It will be the sixth time the two teams have met in the NCAA tournament, the third time they have met in Kansas City and the fourth time they have played in the state of Missouri. The winner will meet Michigan in the Sweet 16 in Dallas Cowboys stadium next Friday. Roy Williams is 1-4 in UNC-Kansas games but has never beaten the Jayhawks.
Roy Williams said in his press conference Saturday that he will never schedule a home and home with Kansas because he refuses to walk through the away tunnel at Kansas’ Phog Allen Fieldhouse
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