UNC, Kansas advance to NCAA championship game

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Men’s college basketball is down to two teams following Saturday’s Final Four action in New Orleans as Kansas and North Carolina, a pair of the most storied programs in NCAA history, advanced to the title game.

In the late game, both the magical run of Duke (32-7) and the illustrious career of coach Mike Krzyzewski ended in the manner least desirable to Blue Devil fans.

Archrival North Carolina (29-9), who defeated Duke in Krzyzewski’s final home game, eliminated the Blue Devils to the tune of 81-77.  

It was a tale of two coaches, as Krzyzewski entered retirement after 46 years as a head coach and 13 Final Fours and North Carolina’s Hubert Davis earned a berth in the NCAA title game in his first season with the Tar Heels.

Davis, a devout Christian, spoke of his faith following the win.

“The foundation of who I am is my relationship with Jesus,” Davis said. “So, whether it’s coaching, whether it’s my marriage, whether it’s my three kids, decision making, everything is filtered through my faith … I can’t do anything without it. It’s not me sharing it. It’s me being me.”

The official Twitter account for Sports Spectrum, a Christian site dedicated to athletics, shared a video of Davis’ comments.

In a game that remained close throughout – it featured 18 lead changes and 12 moments when the score was tied – North Carolina found an edge connecting on 7-of-13 three pointers.

Krzyzewski had little to say about his own career following the game.

“It’s not about me,” Krzyzewski said. “Especially right now. I’ve said my entire career that I wanted my seasons to end where my team was either crying tears of joy or tears of sorrow. Because then you knew that they gave everything.”


The early contest proved to be a different story as the Jayhawks (33-6) made short work of an injury-plagued Villanova Wildcats (30-8). Kansas never trailed and ran away with an 81-65 victory. It was quite the change for the Jayhawks, who in 2018 had been soundly beaten by Villanova when the two teams squared off in that year’s Final Four.

“I think we came out ready to play,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Kind of a little bit of a reversal of 2018, not near to the extent, but a reversal of ’18 in that we really could do much wrong there early … We got a few breaks and built a lead.”

Self added, “You knew Villanova would make a run, and we just kind of held on and responded, but I thought we played great. I thought we were disciplined defensively. I thought we stayed down on shot fakes, basically, for 40 minutes.”

For Villanova, who played without injured shooting guard Justin Moore, it was the end of another successful season.

“Incredibly proud of the effort, attitude and togetherness of our guys who fought until the very end,” Villanova coach Jay Wright tweeted. “Outstanding commitment to Villanova Basketball every step of the way,”

Wright was also part of what might emerge as the most enduring image from this year’s Final Four. As the game’s starting lineups were announced, cameras captured Wright sitting on the bench with his arm around Moore.

The championship game will tip at 9:20 p.m. Eastern Monday, and will broadcast live on TBS.