© 2022 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Main Banner Background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

It's North Carolina vs. Kansas for the national championship

North Carolina's Caleb Love (2) celebrates after scoring against Duke during the first half of a college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Men's Final Four NCAA tournament, Saturday, April 2, 2022, in New Orleans.
Brynn Anderson
/
AP
North Carolina's Caleb Love (2) celebrates after scoring against Duke during the first half of a college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Men's Final Four NCAA tournament, Saturday, April 2, 2022, in New Orleans.

North Carolina will go for its seventh NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night when the Tar Heels face another all-time great program in Kansas.

One might call it a clash of college basketball's Blue Bloods. The game tips off at 9:20 p.m. EST in New Orleans.

Carolina guard R.J. Davis says the quick turnaround after beating Duke on Saturday will not be a problem.

"I mean what more can be said, it's the national championship," Davis said after scoring 18 points in UNC's 81-77 victory over the Blue Devils. "This has been our goal since the beginning of the year. We sat down as a team in the locker room and jotted down our goals, and national championship was one of them. Actually, it was number one. So now we're one game closer and we got to take it one day at a time."

Toward the end of the win over the Duke, starting center Armando Bacot twisted his ankle and had to be helped off the court. He came back to play another few minutes, before fouling out with 11 points and 21 rebounds.

Carolina head coach Hubert Davis says Bacot is expected to play against the Jayhawks.

"They did x-rays and they were all negative," Davis said on Sunday. "His ankle is a little sore, but he was walking around and feeling good and was very encouraged from the amount of swelling from his ankle sprain."

The Tar Heels last won the championship in 2017.

Kansas beat Villanova on Saturday to advance to the title game.

There are several connections between the men's basketball programs at North Carolina and Kansas, but the most glaring one is that Davis' predecessor, Roy Williams, coached at both schools. Between 1988 and 2003, Williams guided Kansas to four Final Four appearances before returning to his alma mater in Chapel Hill. Under Williams' reign, the Tar Heels won three national championships. Williams retired in 2021, paving the way for Davis to take over the program.

Williams was in New Orleans on Saturday, wearing Carolina blue and cheering from the stands.

Copyright 2022 North Carolina Public Radio

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.