By Jon Rothstein
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KENTUCKY VS. BAYLOR
BEST INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: Marquis Teague vs. Pierre Jackson
X-FACTORS: Terrence Jones (Kentucky), Brady Heslip (Baylor)
THE SKINNY: Most believe this will just be a coronation for the Wildcats but the Bears aren’t to be taken lightly. Baylor has the talent to beat Kentucky and will need a monumental effort from Perry Jones III to pull the upset. The sophomore big man has been up and down all season and will need to show a renewed sense of grit against the biggest and baddest frontline in college basketball. Until we see it, we can’t believe it.
PREDICTION: KENTUCKY 82, BAYLOR 74
NORTH CAROLINA VS. KANSAS
BEST INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: John Henson vs. Thomas Robinson
X-FACTORS: Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), Jeff Withey (Kansas)
THE SKINNY: Will Kendall Marshall play? That is the million dollar question. Regardless of whether or not the Tarheels have their starting point guard on the floor, it’s hard to see him being effective at a high level — and that’s a good thing for Kansas. The Jayhawks have won their last two games without playing their best basketball and seem due to put it all together with a berth to the Final Four on the line.
PREDICTION: KANSAS 71, NORTH CAROLINA 66