NO. 1 KANSAS VS. NO. 11 VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
■ WHERE: San Antonio
■ WHEN: 11:20 a.m. PDT
■ TV: CBS (8)
■ ANNOUNCERS: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst
■ RECORDS: Kansas 35-2; VCU 27-11
■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Kansas d. No. 16 Boston University 72-53, d. No. 9 Illinois 73-59, d. No. 12 Richmond 77-57; VCU d. Southern California 59-46 in "play-in" game, d. No. 6 Georgetown 74-56, d. No. 3 Purdue 94-76, d. No. 10 Florida State 72-71, OT
■ ELITE EIGHT APPEARANCES: This is Kansas’ 20th appearance; the Jayhawks are 12-7. This is Virginia Commonwealth’s first.
■ LINE: Kansas -11; total 146
■ KEY STATS: Kansas outrebounds opponents by an average of 7.9 per game, while Virginia Commonwealth is outrebounded by 3.5 per game.
■ BUZZ: Virginia Commonwealth — which finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association in the regular season — has been on fire from 3-point range in this tournament (41 of 96, 42.7 percent, compared with 52 field goals from 2-point range), and that must continue because the Rams are going to have issues dealing with Kansas’ size. The Jayhawks have held foes to 29.1 percent shooting from 3-point range this season; that’s fourth-best in the nation. VCU forward Bradford Burgess (14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has become the Rams’ go-to guy this tourney, and he must remain hot from beyond the arc. Kansas is well-balanced offensively, with twins Marcus Morris (17.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Markieff Morris (13.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg), and Thomas Robinson (7.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) working down low, and Brady Morningstar (7.3 ppg, 3.3 apg), Josh Selby (8.2 ppg) and Tyrel Reed (9.7 ppg) providing pop from the perimeter. Given VCU’s lack of size, Kansas should succeed getting the ball inside and controlling the boards. VCU got pounded on the boards by Florida State, but Seminoles big men missed numerous point-blank putbacks. That’s not going to happen with the Jayhawks. VCU is the fifth No. 11 seed to advance to the Elite Eight; two of them — Louisiana State (1986) and George Mason (2006) — have won, and both beat No. 1 seeds (LSU over Kentucky, and George Mason over Connecticut).
■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Forward Jamie Skeen (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is Virginia Commonwealth’s leading scorer and the Rams’ only legit low-post threat, but he has almost as many made free throws (14) as made field goals (17) in four tourney games. He has to provide offense in the paint, or the Rams will be far too perimeter-oriented.
NO. 2 NORTH CAROLINA VS. NO. 4 KENTUCKY
■ WHERE: Newark, N.J.
■ WHEN: 2:05 p.m. PDT
■ TV: CBS (8)
■ ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst
■ RECORDS: North Carolina 29-7; Kentucky 28-8
■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: North Carolina d. No. 15 Long Island 102-87, d. No. 7 Washington 86-83, d. No. 11 Marquette 81-63; Kentucky d. No. 13 Princeton 59-57, d. No. 5 West Virginia 71-63, d. No. 1 Ohio State 62-60
■ ELITE EIGHT APPEARANCES: This is Kentucky’s 33rd appearance; the Wildcats are 13-19. This is North Carolina’s 25th appearance; the Tar Heels are 18-6.
■ LINE: Kentucky -1; total 146
■ KEY STATS: Kentucky shoots 39.5 percent from 3-point range, and North Carolina hits 33.2 percent from beyond the arc. These teams met Dec. 4 in Chapel Hill, N.C., with the Tar Heels winning, 75-73.
■ BUZZ: You think CBS loves this matchup? These are the two winningest teams in NCAA Tournament history, with Kentucky having 106 victories (in 52 appearances) and North Carolina 105 (in 42 appearances). UNC is all about its big three up front: center Tyler Zeller (15.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and forwards John Henson (11.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg) and Harrison Barnes (15.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Zeller has been dominant in the tourney, with 82 points (on 27-for-47 shooting, 57.4 percent) and 26 rebounds. He has scored at least 23 points in each game after having five 20-point games in the regular season. Can he continue his offensive explosion against Kentucky center Josh Harrellson (7.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg)? Harrellson held his own against Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. If UNC’s big men struggle to score, the Tar Heels are in big trouble. While UNC is frontcourt-oriented, Kentucky is well-balanced, with three potent 3-point shooters and a solid inside game led by freshman forward Terrence Jones (15.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg). Both teams are comfortable with an up-tempo game, but a fast pace probably is more important to the Tar Heels — UNC has lost seven times, and the Heels scored fewer than 70 points in five of those losses.
■ KEY INDIVIDUALS: The point guards are the guys to watch. UNC freshman Kendall Marshall (6.2 ppg, 6.2 apg) isn’t an offensive threat, but he makes the offense go because he knows how to get the ball inside to the big men. Kentucky’s Brandon Knight (17.2 ppg, 4.2 apg), also a freshman, is the Wildcats’ top scorer, and he hit the winning basket against Princeton and Ohio State in the tourney. While he had relatively poor outings in those two games, he scored a season-high 30 points in the win over West Virginia. He’s more of an offensive threat than Marshall and an able distributor. Chances are, though, that if he’s not scoring in this one, Kentucky is going to have trouble.