North Carolina tops Villanova, sets up possible matchup with Kansas

While the nation swooned and crowed and lost its marbles over Florida Gulf Coast, North Carolina was busy putting away Villanova, setting up a compelling story line in Kansas City that would have drawn more attention had the alley-ooping/dunking/supermodel-marrying Eagles not dropped Georgetown over 1,000 miles eastward.

The Tar Heels are playing solid basketball, having only lost twice to both Miami and Duke since Jan. 26. Coach Roy Williams’s switch to a four-guard lineup in mid-February has rejuvenated North Carolina, and once again carried them to a 78-71 win against the Wildcats. P.J. Hairston finished with 23 points, James Michael McAddoo had 17, Reggie Bullock chipped in 15 and freshman point guard Marcus Paige added 14.

But the story out of Kansas City, from now until Sunday, will center on Williams, who barring a historic upset by Western Kentucky, will face his old team in the second round. Given North Carolina’s recent spurt, Williams felt his team was underseeded. Others wondered about putting the Tar Heels in the Kansas City pod, knowing full well that one win would pit them against the Jayhawks.

Williams coached at Kansas from 1988-2003, leading the Jayhawks to four Final Fours. FOX Sports’ Sean Keeler wrote a solid column on Williams’s return, focusing on the coach’s favorite local restaurant. It’s worth a read, if only for the opening anecdote.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Roy Williams ordered the stuffed artichoke to kick off his Thursday night dinner, same as always. The fastest way to Roy’s dadgum heart is through his dadgum stomach, and few know Williams’ dadgum stomach as well as Mike Garozzo does.

“Right now, (he’s) having the three-way spiedini: Shrimp, veal and chicken,” chuckled Garozzo, the Kansas City restaurateur and owner of Garozzo’s Ristorante, a civic staple for more than two decades. “So he’s touching all the bases.

“He’s great. I haven’t seen him for a couple years . . . yeah, he’s been just super with us. He’s as good a guy as he comes off, and he’s the real deal.”

More on the NCAA tournament

Wife of Florida Gulf Coast coach was a supermodel | Welcome to Dunk City, Fla.

Somebody’s perfect: It’s the Atlantic-10

LaSalle upsets Kansas State. Bill Snyder does some emotional eating.

Jim Larranaga and Bob Thomason, 63 years young, square off | Boeheim sticks around

Marshall Henderson: Love him or hate him? | He passes!

Interactive bracket and NCAA tournament history database

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.

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Alex Prewitt · March 22, 2013