The Kansas-North Carolina Connection

By Eric D. Graham
Updated: April 11, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — 2008 NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks have a strange, yet historical connection to the University of North Carolina. Before the Jayhawks defeated the Tar Heels 84-66 in Final Four, the two teams hadn’t played a game with that much magnitude since 1957.

In 1957, UNC head coach Frank McQuire won the school’s first National Title by the score of 54-53 in triple overtime against the Jayhawks of Kansas, who were led by game MVP Wilt Chamberlain.

The Kansas-Carolina connection even involves UNC legendary coach Dean Smith, who as a player won a National championship while playing for the University of Kansas in 1952.

Oddly enough, Kansas would not win another NCAA title until 1988 when the Jayhawks were coached by Larry Brown, who also played for UNC.

Shockingly, all roads seem to end in Chapel Hill because current UNC head coach Roy Williams, who is considered a traitor by many of the loyal Jayhawks fans, led Kansas to four Final Four appearance in five years before leaving the KU to coach at UNC where he won a National Championship in 2005.

After Kansas’ blowout win against Tar Heels, guess who was spotted wearing a sports coat and a sweatshirt with a large Jayhawk emblem on it during Kansas’ thrilling 75-68 ove-time victory over the Memphis Tigers, none other than, Roy Williams.

Birds of a feather stick together.