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Kansas vs. North Carolina: What to know about the Men’s National Basketball Championship


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The NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game will feature two of the best schools in the history of the game in Kansas and North Carolina.

The Jayhawks bring their three national championships to the table in search of a fourth and their first since 2008. The Tar Heels are in search of a seventh national title after having previously won in 2017.

Kansas entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed and is the last remaining No. 1 seed. The Jayhawks beat Texas Southern, Creighton, Providence, Miami (FL) and Villanova to advance to the National Finals. Kansas met Villanova in the Final Four on Saturday night and won the game easily 81-65.

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RJ Davis #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates defeating the Duke Blue Devils in the Final Four Semifinals of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

North Carolina entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed, but is riding a wave of momentum by winning its last eight of 10 games and has managed to secure a berth in the tournament despite its failure to make an appearance in the ACC Championship. The Tar Heels beat Marquette, Baylor, UCLA, Saint Peter’s and handed Mike Krzyzewski and Duke their final loss.

North Carolina coach Hubert Davis is in an interesting position heading into the national championship. Davis has the chance to follow Steve Fisher in winning a national title in his very first season as head coach. Fisher did it for Michigan in 1989.

Davis was also part of the 1991 team that lost in the Final Four to Kansas. Davis scored 25 points in the game, leading all scorers but the Tar Heels failed to win. Kansas would go on to lose to Duke in this game – Krzyzewski’s first national championship.

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“Before we won the national championship in 2017, from 1991 to 2017, I watched that game at least once a year,” Davis said of the 1991 game on Sunday.

“It’s the best team I’ve played with, with (King Rice) and (Rick Fox) and Pete Chilcutt as seniors and George Lynch, we were as connected as this team is connected now. And we really had felt like we had a chance to win the national championship and we failed. And it was a game where Coach Smith got two technical fouls and got kicked out, and it was an emotional game and a moving end to the season.

“And playing at Carolina what I always wanted for me was to cut those nets as a player. And we were so close and we couldn’t have that experience. And that was the loss hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life. And grateful to have had an experience that – or an opportunity to be an assistant coach and to be a part of it again and to be able, as an assistant coach , to be part of the 2017 championship. But this defeat was difficult to take.

Kansas vs. North Carolina: What to know about the Men’s National Basketball Championship

Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self talks to player Ochai Agbaji #30 in the second half of the game against the Villanova Wildcats in the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals at Caesars Superdome on 02 April 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Picture by )
(Chris Gray then/Getty Images)

Bill Self took over at Kansas after Roy Williams left for the job in North Carolina and helped turn the Jayhawks into a perennial powerhouse of a team every year. However, Self only has one championship to his name – in 2008 when the team topped Memphis in overtime.

“We’ve had really great seasons and great teams that have failed. And I think when you have as many good teams as we’ve had – in most places winning a national championship would be quite an accomplishment – – I think as many good teams as we have had, one is not enough,” Self said on Sunday.

“And so I don’t think I personally feel the pressure that we have to win. But I know when you have the chance to coach at a place where you have the opportunity to be in the game most years, you must enjoy it more than we have.”

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Kansas was on course for the No. 1 seed in the 2020 tournament and was one of the favorites to win until the COVID pandemic derailed everything.

“It was difficult for everyone. I mean, it was just a difficult year for everyone, no matter what you did as a profession. Everyone was affected in one way or another. another. It was perhaps our most equipped team to go deep in the tournament, at least going into a tournament,” Self said. “We had the best big defensive player in the country. We had the best defensive player in the country and we had a second All-American team to boot. So it was difficult for our guys.

“But they handled it well. And what probably made it a little tougher was the year before we got knocked out in the second round the year after we got knocked out in the second round. So getting here is, I think, pretty sweet for us, largely because a lot of guys on this team didn’t get a chance to play when we had — I don’t know if we had a legit shot, but he would have took a pretty good effort to eliminate us.

Kansas and North Carolina are loaded.

Kansas vs. North Carolina: What to know about the Men’s National Basketball Championship

Christian Braun #2, Remy Martin #11, Jalen Wilson #10 and Dajuan Harris Jr. #3 of the Kansas Jayhawks react in the second half of the game against the Villanova Wildcats in the Final Four semifinals of the basketball tournament 2022 NCAA Men’s Championship at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and David McCormack along with Remy Martin on the bench have been key players for the Jayhawks.

“This is the time when every child dreams of being, of playing for a national championship for their school, of representing their school on the highest stage of basketball and playing in front of all these people,” Agbaji said when he was asked if it was his dream to play for a national title.

“I think it’s just a dream come true for me and all the guys in my team. So we’re excited to play tomorrow and everyone is ready.”

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Caleb Love and Armando Bacot played very well for the Tar Heels and are a big part of why the team has had the success it has had.

Bacot is averaging 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. Love is averaging 16 points and 3.6 assists per game. Bacot appeared to hurt his ankle late in the win over Duke on Saturday. He said on Sunday he was sure he was going to play.

Kansas vs. North Carolina: What to know about the Men’s National Basketball Championship

Head coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels trains from the bench as they take on the Duke Blue Devils during the first half of the Final Four semifinals of the men’s basketball tournament at the NCAA 2022 at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“My current status is I’m playing. There’s no way I’m not playing in the national championship game. My right leg should be cut so I don’t play,” he said, via Sports Illustrated.

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The tip is scheduled for Monday night at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The match begins at 9:20 p.m. ET and can be viewed on TBS.



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