March Madness ends with a historic clash
The 2022 NCAA championship is a historic one, with Kansas and UNC meeting for the fifth time in a title game, the most in the history of the Final Four.
The Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels will play each other in the NCAA final championship game tonight, Monday April 4. This game marks the fifth time these two teams will meet in a title game, the most common clash of any other two teams in the history of March Madness Final Four. It also marks the seventh time the two teams will meet in the March Madness tournament, tied for the second-most in history.
Kansas vs North Carolina: The history
Remember a skinny dude named Wilt Chamberlain? AKA, one of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA? Well, in 1957, he was a sophomore in college playing for the Kansas Jayhawks, who made it to the NCAA championship game for the first time and were favored to win over the University of North Carolina. It was a thriller of a game as the two schools went back and forth and eventually into a three-time overtime. Finally, North Carolina came away with the upset in a 57-56 defeat over Kansas.
Since that day in 1957, the two teams have traded off title wins. Kansas beat North Carolina in the national semis in 1991, North Carolina beat Kansas in the semis in 1993, and then Kansas got their victory over UNC again in the 2008 Final Four game when all four No.1 seeds were in it. If the trend continues, we’ll see a UNC win tonight, but as it stands, Kansas is the No.1 seed and UNC is No.8. Kansas is favored to get the win.
This year, both coaches will be looking to make history. If Kansas coach Bill Self gets the win, it will make his second championship with Kansas almost exactly 14 years after his first. A win would make him the first Kansas coach to win multiple titles. UNC coach Hubert Davis is just the fifth first-year coach to take his team to a title. If they win, he will be the first head coach to ever win a national title in his first full season as head coach. They would also be just the second team to win as a No.8 seed.
Kansas vs UNC: What to expect tonight
This game should be a close one. The Jayhawks are coming off of an easy win over Villanova, but North Carolina had a more difficult time with their rival team Duke. Good news for them is that star player Armando Bacot will be playing after spraining his ankle on Saturday, though perhaps not in tip-top shape. If he is, though, Kansas center David McCormack will have his work cut out for him in the paint.
Kansas is the favorite for a reason though. They have dominated all season with a 53.9 percent effective field goal shooting rate, 36.1 percent from the three-point range, and 53.8 percent inside the mark. Not to mention, they are making 72 percent of free throw attempts. The Tar Heels aren’t bad on any of those fronts either and with Bacot and their other big talents, Caleb Love and Brady Manek amongst them, they are not to be taken lightly.
We will see who walks away with the title in a game that promises to be a nail biter tonight at 9:20 p.m. ET in New Orleans.