The pinnacle of the college basketball season is here with the men’s and women’s Final Four.
The men’s side featured a rematch from the 2018 Final Four with Villanova vs. Kansas. Kansas, who lost the game in 2018, got their revenge beating Villanova 85-61. Kansas led throughout the game and will be in the championship game for the first time since 2012. Kansas forward David McCormack led the Jayhawks with 25 points, followed by Ochai Agbaji with 21 points and six 3-pointers.
The other matchup featured one of the biggest rivalries in sports, Duke vs. North Carolina. The game marked the first time the two had met in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina bested Duke for the second time this year with a score of 81-77. Forward Armando Bacot snagged 21 rebounds en route to a double-double for the Tar Heels.
Duke’s loss to North Carolina ended coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 42-year coaching career at Duke. Krzyzewski ranks No. 1 in all-time wins and posts an all-time record of 1,170-361 for a .764 career win percentage. He won five national championships and made 13 Final Fours, passing John Wooden for all-time wins this season.
The North Carolina vs. Kansas championship game occurred on Monday, April 4 in the Superdome in New Orleans.
North Carolina went into halftime with a 15-point lead. Kansas came out firing in the second half cutting the lead to a one possession game in under 10 minutes. When the dust settled, Kansas made the plays necessary to win their fourth national title. The 15-point comeback was the biggest comeback in NCAA championship game history.
As for the women, top seeded South Carolina, and favorite to win the title, matched up with Louisville for the first game of the Final Four. South Carolina came out on top, beating Louisville 72-59. In the second game, UCONN, playing in their 14th straight Final Four, went up against Stanford who was last year’s champion. In a battle to the very end, UCONN came out on 63-58 to advance to yet another NCAA championship game.
South Carolina and UCONN played for the championship on Sunday, April 3 in Indianapolis. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley coached in her second title game. Geno Auriemma, undefeated in championship games, led the Huskies in his 11th title game.
Following a fast start for South Carolina, leading 22-8 after the first quarter, UCONN made a run cutting the lead to eight points going into half time. The Gamecocks of South Carolina outplayed the Huskies in the second half and down the stretch and ended up going wire to wire, never trailing in the entire game and winning 64-49 for their second national title in five years. Aliyah Boston won the Final Four most outstanding player award, scoring 11 points with 16 rebounds.
UCONN has dominated women’s college basketball, winning five titles since 2010 and 11 overall. However, South Carolina beat them to win their second championship in women’s college basketball. They were considered favorites to raise the trophy all season long and were able to get the job done.
Kansas became the all-time wins leader in men’s college basketball during their tournament run. The Jayhawks won their first title in 14 years and Bill Self became one of 16 coaches of all time to win multiple national championships.