NEW ORLEANS — 148 days ago, Nov. 9, the 2021-22 college basketball season kicked off in great uncertainty.
The previous two Final Four have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, we experienced a total cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, a devastating blow for fans of the sport. In 2021, March Madness didn’t have nearly the same feel, as the entire tournament was played inside a bubble in Indianapolis.
No one knew what to expect at the start of the 2021-22 college basketball season, but we got through it — largely unscathed — and have a national champion ourselves.
On Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans, Kansas won its fourth national title, defeating North Carolina 72-69, achieving the biggest comeback in national championship game history.
It was the ultimate two-half story for Kansas, which fell 15 at halftime – they were down to 16 – after North Carolina went on an 18-3 run to finish the first half. Senior forward Brady Manek was three of five from beyond the arc in the first half, and Armando Bacot had 12 points and 10 rebounds, including three on the offensive glass.
But Kansas came out with a different energy with their season on the line, responding with a 31-10 run, taking a 56-50 lead with 10:23 left in the second half. Christian Braun had 10 points during the race, with Jalen Wilson adding eight points to him.
Transfer keeper Remy Martin was huge off the bench, contributing 14 points with three massive shots from beyond the arc in the second half. David McCormack had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas, and Braun finished with a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Caleb Love missed the tie at the buzzer for North Carolina. Love finished the night with 13 points on 5-24 shooting from the field.
It’s Kansas’ second championship under head coach Bill Self and the school’s first since 2008. Self has taken some heat over the years for some of his teams who left the early ones. NCAA tournaments.
“We’ve had some really great seasons and some teams have failed,” Self said on Sunday. “And I think when you have as many good teams as we’ve had – in most places winning a national championship would be quite an achievement – I think as many good teams as we’ve had, one isn’t enough. .”
“So I don’t think I personally feel the pressure that we have to win,” Self continued. “But I know when you get the chance to coach somewhere where you have the opportunity to be in the game most years, you have to enjoy it more than we do.”
With Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski retiring, someone has to take over as college basketball’s go-to coach, and with his second title and 19 seasons at Kansas, Self would be the leader. one of the obvious choices.
“We have lost some icons due to retirement who have been mainstays of our profession for some time,” Self said on Sunday. “And I think all the coaches my age – I don’t think you’ll see anybody playing a role like Coach K or anything like that.”
“And I think there are many coaches, myself included, who need to have a voice and be active and accountable to help these changes happen,” Self added.
Joe Morgan is the Daily Wire’s sports reporter. More recently, Morgan has covered the Clippers, Lakers and NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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