Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson could pose some problems for Kentucky… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )
No. 1 Kentucky (35-2) vs. No. 3 Baylor (30-7), 11:20 a.m., Channel 2: This is the first single-digit seeding of the tournament for Baylor. On paper, these teams are evenly matched. Kentucky has six players averaging in double figures in scoring and no one averaging more than 14.1 points per game. Baylor has five guys in double figures with no one averaging more than 13.6. Kentucky shoots 48.7% from the field and holds opponents to 37.5%. Baylor shoots 47.0% and holds opponents to 41.5%. Baylor shoots 38.5% from beyond the arc, Kentucky 37.7%. But what is it they say about stats? You can make them say anything you want. Intensity cannot be measured and that is where these teams differ greatly. Kentucky brings it for 40 minutes. Baylor? Sometimes the Bears don't bring it all, especially their frontcourt players. If Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy play to their potential, this will be a memorable game. If they mess around, as they seemingly usually do, Kentucky will cruise into the Final Four by a double-digit margin. Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is quicker than Kentucky counterpart Marquis Teague and could pose some problems. Jackson and backcourt mate Brady Heslip, both of whom shoot at least 42.0% from beyond the arc, could help Baylor's cause by making some early three-point baskets.
No. 1 North Carolina (32-5) vs. No. 2 Kansas (30-6), 2 p.m., Channel 2: This is the first single-digit seeding of the tournament for Kansas. North Carolina struggled without point guard Kendall Marshall against Ohio, turning the ball over a season-high 24 times and looking lost offensively at times. Marshall's availability for Sunday probably won't be determined until game time, and it's hard to expect North Carolina to win without him. Still, North Carolina has a big-time frontcourt, and Harrison Barnes (who played poorly against Ohio), John Henson and Tyler Zeller will pose matchup problems for Kansas. Kansas center Jeff Withey played well against North Carolina State, and if he plays well again, that would be a huge boost for the Jayhawks. North Carolina's three-point shooting is criticized often, but the Tar Heels' 34.1% marksmanship from beyond the arc isn't that much worse than Kansas' 34.8%. Kansas' offense has struggled in the tournament, but the defensive effort has been there for the most part. If the Jayhawks can get that type of effort against a Marshall-less North Carolina, Kansas will advance. If Marshall plays, look for Kansas to be aggressive and, yes, physical, against him. In that scenario, look for Kansas to entice Marshall to shoot, at least early on, in an effort to see what kind of threat he poses. Regardless, each of North Carolina's big three up front must be productive if the Tar Heels are to win.