NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team was crowned national champion Monday night, after defeating North Carolina 72-69.
After a tournament filled with many upsets – Kansas was the only regional No. 1 seed to make it to the Final Four – the final game came down to two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball.
Despite trailing by as much as 16 at one point and down by 15 at halftime, Kansas was able to mount a fierce comeback. Their thrilling come-from-behind win set the record for the largest comeback in NCAA championship game history.
This is Kansas’ fourth national title and second under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self. The last Kansas team to win the title also came back from a deficit late to win it all. Self recalled it during his speech to the team at halftime Monday, when he told his players they were in a less difficult spot than the 2008 team.
Many UNC fans will likely have a sour taste in their mouths after the loss, but their run to the championship game is one of the most impressive tournament performances in recent memory.
An 8th seed in its region, the Tar Heels had struggled for most of the season but were able to put together an upset of arch-rival Duke in the Final Four to make it to the finals – not to mention their earlier upset of Duke in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5.
Meanwhile, Kansas may want to savor the good times while they last.
For the past several years, Kansas has been the subject of an NCAA investigation stemming from an FBI report in 2017 on corruption in college basketball. It’s likely the investigation will come to an end soon. Oddly enough, the last team to be banned from the tournament the year after winning it all was the 1989 Kansas Jayhawks.
It’s safe to say Jayhawks fans hope history won’t repeat itself, but even with the cloud of potential sanctions from the NCAA overhead, the team is still basking in glory as the nation’s best college basketball team in 2022.