NCAA Championship 2022


Sofia Alcala

Busted brackets, unbelievable upsets, and broken national records marked the 2022 March Madness as one of the most exciting tournaments yet. Around 9 million fans tuned in to watch their favorite college teams go head to head this year, upping the viewer rate by 21% from last year. From 15-seed St. Peter’s Peacocks being the first 15 seed in NCAA history to make it to the Elite Eight to the exhilarating UNC and Duke game to end Coach K’s (Duke) 41 seasons coaching. Like all March Madness tournaments before this, many tears of losses and wins were shed. Unfortunately, as it always does, the annual series came to a close in the beginning of April, with the championship game taking place on April 5th between 8-seed University of North Carolina and 1-seed University of Kansas.

The North Carolina Tar Heels had to surpass many difficult games to earn their spot in the final two teams competing for the national title. Coached by Hubert Davis, the fourth former UNC player to become the Tar Heel head coach, the 2021/2022 team was loaded with talented players, led by starters Caleb Love (sophomore), Armando Bacot (junior), Brady Manek (senior), R.J. Davis (sophomore), and Leaky Black (senior). The team went 26-9 in their regular season, earning a spot as an 8-seed team in the East Conference. Throughout March Madness, the Tar Heels faced off against numerous well-established teams, their first matchup was against 9-seed Marquette University in which they beat 95-63. Brady Manek led the scoring in this game, with 28 points dropped and 11 total rebounds. In the second round, UNC faced 1-seed Baylor, in which R.J. Davis dropped 30 points and the Tar Heels came out victorious with the score of 93-86. This hard fought game and massive upset proved North Carolina’s potential success in the games to come. Following Baylor, the Tar Heels surpassed 4-seed UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen and later beat 15- seed St. Peter’s to gain a spot in the Final Four. The most awaited game, by far, took place in the final four between cross-town rivals University of North Carolina and Duke. 2-seed Duke came out strong against the Tar Heels, but North Carolina players pushed through, with Love dropping 28 points and Bacot totaling 21 rebounds, the game ended in a 81-77 win for UNC. Their win against Duke secured North Carolina’s spot in the finals, making it the 12th appearance in the NCAA tournament championship game in Tar Heel history.

The University of Kansas had appeared in the championship game for the 5th time this year, with their persistent roster and dedicated coaching, they found lots of success in the 2022 March Madness tournament. The Jayhawks’ were led by coach Bill Self, in his 19th year of being the Kansas men’s basketball coach. The starting line up consisted of well-rounded, experienced players with Christian Braun (junior), Ochai Agbaji (senior), K. Adams (freshman), Remy Martin (senior), and David McCormack (senior). Kansas entered the March Madness tournament with an impressive 29-6 regular season record, earning a spot in the Midwest Conference as a 1-seed team. The Jayhawks’ opened up their 50th NCAA tournament with a 83-56 win against 16-seed Texas Southern University. Remy Martin came out with 15 points and David McCormack with 7 total rebounds to gain an early lead in the game. Following the first round, Kansas faced 9-seed Creighton in a head to head game, however Remy Martin dropped 20 points and the Jayhawks were able to pull off a win with the score 79-72. Making it to the Sweet Sixteen, Kansas won another close game against the 4-seed Providence College team with the final score 66-61. This big win got the Jayhawks a spot in the Elite Eight, where they played 10-seed Miami with the score of 76-50, Ochai Agbaji led the scoring in this game with a total of 18 points. After the long road to get there, Kansas made the final four where they would play 2-seed Villanova to compete for a final two spot. The game took place in New Orleans, where a huge crowd packed the stadium to watch a monumental game between a 1 and 2-seed team. David McCormack racked up a total of 25 points in this game, while Ochai Agbaji hit six 3-pointers, thus winning the game 81-65 over Villanova. The Kansas Jayhawks persevered through thick and thin throughout their journey in the national tournament, which proved to pay off in the national championship game.

All of the 67 games played in the March Madness tournament narrowed down to two teams competing for the NCAA title, the 8-seed North Carolina Tar Heels and 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks. The game took place in the packed Caesars Superdome stadium in New Orleans on April 5th, 2022. North Carolina started the game with incredible intensity, leading half with the score 40-25, while Kansas struggled to hold their own against North Carolina’s powerful offense. However, the Jayhawks clapped back after halftime with a strong defense, erasing the 16-point gap between the two teams. With the score being neck and neck, it was either teams’ game. Eventually Kansas powered through to gain a 3 point lead over North Carolina with only 1 minute and 41 seconds left on the clock. Caleb Love, of North Carolina, attempted for a 3-pointer to tie the game in North Carolina’s last possession, but the shot fell short and the team couldn’t answer to the Jayhawks’ lead of 72-69. With this, the University of Kansas pulled off the largest comeback in national championship history and overcame some of the greatest odds in March Madness. This epic battle between two dominating teams was extremely hard fought and represented what the NCAA tournament is all about… madness!