Duke and North Carolina’s first-ever tourney in the men’s NCAA event was always going to be major. The fact that we eventually got it in the Final Four and during Mike Krzyzewski’s final time before withdrawal made it maybe one of the most awaited games in the history of the sport.
With UNC as aNo. 8 seed and Duke floundering entering March, this tourney simply felt too good to be true. It should have been insolvable for this game to live up to such an immense position of hype, but ever it did that, too.
North Carolina beat Duke, 81-77, to punch their ticket to the public crown game. The Tar Heels will now face Kansas for the public crown. The Jayhawks defeated Villanova, 81-65, in the other semifinal.
This was truly one of the most stylish games you’ll ever see. Coach K’s career ends with a loss to his archrival.
The game lived up to the hype
The final twinkles of this game were absolutely inconceivable. Trevor Keels hit a three-pointer to give Duke a one-point lead with just over two twinkles left. North Carolina’s Brady Manek answered with his own three on the coming possession to put Duke back over. Duke came down and plant Keels for a three that missed, but Duke seized the obnoxious answer, swung the ball to Wendell Moore, and saw him hit another go-ahead three.
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North Carolina took the lead back on free throws fromR.J. Davis. Also, Duke’s Mark Williams missed a brace of free throws. On UNC’s coming possession, Caleb Love hit a ridiculous pull-up three-pointer to put the Heels up four. This was the biggest shot of the night.
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It still wasn’t over. Duke’s Jeremy Roach drove down and scored a layup to cut the lead to two. After Love split free throws following a purposeful foul, Duke had one further chance down three points. Trevor Keels was fouled and resolved his own free throws to keep Duke down two.
Duke fouled Love on the coming possession, and he made both free throws to give UNC the palm.
North Carolina’s Final Four run was no strike
This Navigator Heels platoon was in jeopardy of missing the NCAA event interior through the time after Duke beat them by 20 points on their home bottom. North Carolina rallied late in the season — famously giving Duke a double-number defeat in Coach K’s last ever home game on March 5.
UNC entered this event as aNo. 8 seed. They knocked off. 1 seed Baylor in the Round of 32, but nearly blew a 25- point lead before doing it. Carolina’s Sweet 16 palm over UCLA was satisfying enough, but there were still some questions about whether this was a Final Four quality platoon after fluently advancing history. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight.
UNC proved itself in the biggest game of the season in the Final Four against Duke. Carolina showed how important gift this platoon always had. Love was electric, finishing with 28 points on 11-of-20 firing. Armando Bacot was inconceivable inside despite rolling his ankle late, ending the night with 11 points and 21 rebounds. Davis added 18 points and Manek had 14 points in the palm.
This Carolina platoon checks nearly every box you want in a council basketball contender with great guard play, a physical force outside in Bacot, and enough firing on the bodies. These Heels are absolutely good at winning it all.