UNC looks to cap off surprising run against Kansas in national championship game

The two schools have combined for nine NCAA titles and 22 title-game appearances.
UNC meets Kansas in the National Championship Game Monday
UNC meets Kansas in the National Championship Game Monday(WBTV)
Published: Apr. 3, 2022 at 8:39 PM EDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WBTV) - After winning a historic Final Four matchup against the Duke Blue Devils, 81-77 on Saturday night, the North Carolina Tar Heels are looking to win one final game Monday night to capture their seventh national championship.

The Tar Heels entered the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed under first-year head coach Hubert Davis and had few expectations by most.

But they’ve made a Cinderella-type run, beating No. 1 Baylor, No. 4 UCLA and No. 2 Duke, in addition to No. 9 Marquette and No. 15 St. Peter’s en route to the title game.

North Carolina (29-9) will now face the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks (33-6) in the national championship game on Monday night in a battle of two blue-blood schools. It will be the third title-game appearance for UNC in the last six NCAA tournaments and if they win, the school’s first championship since 2017.

On the other hand, Kansas, led by head coach Bill Self, is looking for its first title since 2008.

The two schools have combined for nine NCAA titles and 22 title-game appearances.

The Tar Heels are riding high, having won 11 of their past 12 games but the Jayhawks are led by senior guard Ochai Agbaji and forward David McCormack, who are coming off a dominant win over No. 2 seed Villanova in the Final Four.

UNC will have to recover from its thrilling victory over Duke and hope its short rotation led by Caleb Love and RJ Davis in the backcourt, and Armando Bacot and Brady Manek in the frontcourt, continue to play well.

Even former Cox Mill High School player Leaky Black, who starts for the Tar Heels, had a career game against the Blue Devils by scoring eight points and pulling down nine rebounds.

One of the biggest keys will be the health of Bacot, who suffered an ankle injury late in the game Saturday. He returned to the court before fouling out but will have to hope for a quick recovery. He had 11 points and 21 rebounds against the Blue Devils.

If UNC were to win, they’d be tied as the lowest seed to ever win the NCAA Tournament, with No. 8 Villanova achieving the feat in 1985.

The Tar Heels and Kansas have only met 12 times, with six of those meetings coming in the tournament. The Jayhawks lead the tournament matchups 4-2 but lost in the title game vs. UNC in 1957.

Kansas has beaten UNC three straight times in the 2013, 2012 and 2008 tournaments.

Ahead of Monday night’s game, UNC basketball’s official Twitter account tweeted a tongue-in-cheek letter from Davis asking employers to excuse Tar Heels fans from work on Monday, due to it being an “unofficial national holiday.”

Tipoff is Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET from New Orleans. This year’s Final Four will be broadcast on TBS rather than CBS.

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