In the largest comeback in a NCAA tournament title game history, the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the UNC Tar Heels 72-69. The 8th seeded Tar Heels held a 15 point lead at halftime, but the Jayhawks’ relentless perimeter defense and interior rim suffocation after the break spurred the comeback.
It’s been 14 years in waiting since Bill Self’s last title (2008). With the victory he becomes 1 of 16 head coaches to win multiple national titles.
Bill Self’s halftime adjustments to speed up the guard play affected UNC’s backcourt with their tenacious on ball defense. Kansas was able to attack off the dribble. Also, placing Armando Bacot in high ball screens, pick and roll situations on an injured ankle paid dividends.
This was the first time in 161 games, when leading by 15 or more at the half that UNC came up short. Coming into tonight’s game the Jayhawks were 25-0 when holding their opponents to 70 points or fewer. With the 72-69 National title win, the Jayhawks are now 26-0. Kansas held UNC to 28% shooting in the second half, which included a 14-2 points off turnovers in the second half.
The Heels had 5 players in double figures, led by Armando Bacort with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Puff Johnson was a spark plug off the bench and provided good minutes to North Carolina after Leaky Black picked up his fourth foul early in the second half. Puff, who will have a much larger on next season’s team, finished with 11 points – on 5 of 9 shooting – and six rebounds.
Armando Bacot became the 1st player all time to record six double-doubles in a single NCAA tournament. The achievement tied David Robinson’s Division One single season record of 31 double doubles. Bacot’s 99 rebounds in the 2022 NCAA tournament ranks 2nd all-time for a single tournament.