The road to the Final Four for the University of Kansas will travel to St. Louis — by way of Tobacco Road.
After using a frantic finish to defeat Purdue 63-60 Sunday night to move into the school’s 28th NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance, the No. 2-seed Jayhawks’ next stop is St. Louis, where they will meet North Carolina State on Friday night.
And if the Jayhawks get past N.C. State, they would likely catch an old friend, former KU coach Roy Williams and his North Carolina Tar Heels, in the Midwest Regional final. Top-seed North Carolina meets Ohio in the other regional semifinal.
“I feel relief,” KU coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks waited until the final minutes to get their first lead. “But I also feel jubilation. It was a grinding game.”
An 11th seed, N.C. State upset No. 3-seed Georgetown 66-63 Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2005. The Wolfpack won national titles in 1974 and 1983 but hasn’t been a national contender in years.
It’s a different story for the Jayhawks, who live in basketball’s national spotlight. This will be their ninth Sweet 16 in the last 12 years.
Tickets for the St. Louis games on sale by calling 877-622-2849 or going online at www.ncaa.com.
KU (29-6) enjoyed a home atmosphere at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center over the weekend, where a packed house was dominated by Jayhawk fans. Expect more of the same at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome, which seats about 45,000 for basketball.