Rapid Reaction: North Carolina once again spoils Coach K's final year, eliminates Duke from NCAA Tournament
It was the matchup we all were waiting for. The matchup decades in the making.
Of course it had to be this way. Duke and North Carolina had never met in the NCAA Tournament before. Of course, in Mike Krzyzewski’s final year at the helm of the Blue Devils, that had to change. And, naturally, it had to happen in the Final Four.
On Saturday night in New Orleans, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels did battle. It was a clash of the titans, the bluest of all blue-blood matchups.
Coach K was supposed to get revenge on UNC for spoiling his final home game at Cameron Indoor. That’s not what happened, though.
The game was everything a college basketball fan could have wanted. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils traded leads in the second half, with Caleb Love going on a tear for UNC in the final 20 minutes.
But, at the end of regulation, it was the Tar Heels who had more points on the scoreboard. The Tar Heels, not the Blue Devils, earned themselves an 81-77 victory to advance to the national championship game against Kansas.
Well, look no further than the second half from UNC sophomore Caleb Love. He scored 22 of his 28 points after halftime. This was an absolute dagger late in the second half:
CALEB LOVE OMG!!!! ?@UNC_Basketball | #MFinalFour pic.twitter.com/8xdvnYbzQU
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) April 3, 2022
Roy Williams, the legendary coach of both Kansas and North Carolina, was in the stands watching as first-year head coach Hubert Davis led the Tar Heels to victory.
Paolo Banchero put up 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, but it wasn’t enough for the Blue Devils to advance past their heated rivals.
Coach K finishes his storied career with a record 13 Final Four appearances. Unfortunately for him and the rest of Duke nation, that proved to be an unlucky number on Saturday night.