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Men’s March Madness: The grand finale

Basketball

April 04, 2022
JAMIE SCHWABEROW/NCAA PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES
JAMIE SCHWABEROW/NCAA PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: All of the madness will end after tonight’s 9:20 p.m. ET game when No. 1 Kansas and No. 8 UNC battle for the men’s national championship. Miss you already, college basketball.

Final Four recap: Saturday’s first semifinal was a snoozefest, as Kansas routed No. 2 Villanova 81–65, but the nightcap brought the drama. UNC guard Caleb Love etched himself into Tar Heels’ lore when he hit a crucial three-pointer to help lift UNC to an 81–77 upset win over archrival No. 2 Duke.

  • And, as much as he says it wasn’t about him, UNC rejoiced in handing legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski (pronounced shuh-SHEF-ski) his final loss. A heartbreaking ending to an incredible career.

Tonight’s championship: These squads are no strangers to success: Kansas already has three program titles while UNC boasts six.

  • Despite being a No. 1 seed (and the winningest men’s team in NCAA history), Kansas hasn’t received much attention this March Madness, quietly rolling through the tourney while averaging 77 points per game.
  • UNC has been similarly dominant, also upsetting No. 1 Baylor and No. 4 UCLA to become just the fourth eight-seed to ever advance to the championship contest.

Players to watch: For Kansas, it’s Ochai Agbaji. The Big 12 Player of the Year netted 21 points in the Jayhawks’ semifinal tilt, boosting his stock ahead of June’s NBA draft.

  • As for UNC, in addition to Love, keep an eye out for junior forward Armando Bacot, who pulled down a whopping 21 rebounds in the Final Four. Bacot rolled his ankle at the end of the game but says he’s “ready to play” in tonight’s blue blood battle. Game on.