ST. LOUIS It was as if somebody had reached over and put dad-gum gum in Roy Williams' hair.
Sometimes in Bracketville, it comes down to a tweak. At the 11:52 mark of the second half of the NCAA tournament's Midwest Regional final, North Carolina hit the under-12-minute media timeout with 61 points. Over the previous eight minutes, they'd scored 14 points. In the eight minutes before that, they'd scored 16. The Tar Heels were in their comfort zone, setting the tempo, on pace for a game in the 80s, dragging Kansas a team almost as swift as Carolina but not nearly as deep into a track meet.
That is, until Bill Self reached into his bag of tricks. He dumped the straight-up man-to-man look, and pulled out a junk defense, one the Jayhawks hadn't used since they'd escaped Purdue in Omaha: The triangle-and-2. In layman's terms, it meant two guys playing man-to-man and the other three in a zone.
"And they just didn't know what to do with it," Kansas guard Conner Teahan said after the...