LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Kansas coach Roy Williams has another reason not to like playing his alma mater.
Freshman Rashad McCants scored 25 points to lead resurgent North Carolina to a 67-56 upset of the second-ranked Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.
In Friday's championship game, the Tar Heels (4-0) will face Stanford, which upset No. 7 Florida in the other semifinal.
Kansas (2-1) suffered its first loss in the Preseason NIT under Williams, falling to 14-1. The Jayhawks, who have won this event three times, will take on Florida in the consolation game.
Williams, who was offered the North Carolina job in 2000 before turning it down, insisted that he didn't enjoy playing his former school, where he was an assistant under Dean Smith.
North Carolina used its youthful starting lineup to administer a defeat that Williams never expected.
"It was a huge game for them," Williams said. "It should have been a even bigger for us."
Matt Doherty was the next choice to take over one of college basketball's storied programs after Williams declined. Doherty endured a rocky second season in which the Tar Heels went 8-20 but seems to have them back on track this year.
"I don't know if I've been more proud of a group of young men," he said. "It was a special night, obviously, although it wasn't Kansas' best night."
McCants made 10-of-15 shots and Jawad Williams hit 6-of-12 for 15 points as North Caroina never trailed in the second half. The Tar Heels led by as many as 21 points.
Melvin Scott's jumper capped an 8-0 run to end the first half as the Tar Heels took a 38-29 halftime lead. North Carolina opened the second half with a 12-4 spurt, including six points from freshman Sean May, for a 50-33 lead with just over 17 minutes left.
"We just tried to control the tempo," May said. "It's a real emotional win for us. We can celebrate until 1 in the morning."
Freshman point guard Raymond Felton did a masterful job of running the show for North Carolina, finishing with 10 points and four assists.
"We played great ball," Felton said. "We ran the offense well, we did everything."
Nick Collison scored 19 points and Kirk Hinrich added 13 to lead Kansas. But Hinrich and backcourt mate Aaron Miles combined to commit 11 of the Jayhawks' 21 turnovers, leading to 24 points for North Carolina.
"Coach takes a lot of responsibility, but it's the players' fault," Collison said. "I take responsibility for not getting the guys ready."
May helped control the interior with eight points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four steals. Jawad Williams also outplayed Kansas center Wayne Simien, who scored 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
The Tar Heels also were bolstered by a partisan crowd. They were greeted warmly when they took the floor, and the North Carolina supporters easily drowned out a surprisingly small contingent of Kansas fans.
"When I walked out on the floor and I saw the fans respond to the Carolina blue, I knew that New York is a Carolina town," said Doherty, a Long Island native. "Its neat to bring my team into Madison Square Garden."
The Tar Hels helped keep Kansas' vaunted running game in check as they clamped down on Miles, Hinrich and Keith Langford. Langford fouled out with just seven points and Miles had just one basket.
Roy Williams gave credit to North Carolina, but his regard for his alma mater did not make the lose any easier to accept.
"His (Doherty) staff and his players were outstanding," he said. "I feel great for the feelings that Matt has, but that has nothing to do with how I feel right now."