By Hocine LOUKKAF on 4/8/2022
With four of the most solid programs in college basketball and the last dance for coach K, this 2022 Final Four was as good as expected as Kansas joins Connecticut at the 6th spot for most college titles, putting semi-final opponent Villanova behind them.
Indeed, with Justin Moore out for injury, Villanova was too limited to deal with Kansas as Ogbaji (21pts on 6/7 3pt) and big man McCormack (25pts 9rbds) dominated the first half. Despite their good shooting night (13/31 3pt), the mix of shooting and inside power from Kansas made it impossible for the Wildcats to comeback.
In the other semi, an incredible showdown between Duke and their archrival from UNC, the game remained close until Love (28pts) decided it was enough, giving UNC a 4pt-lead with less than a minute to go. Despite being both in foul trouble, Armando Bacot (11pts 21rbds) dominated Mark Williams (8pts 4rbds) but while Banchero (20pts 10rbds) lived up to his hype, Griffin and Roach combined for an awful 3/18 FG, including 0/9 from three.
For the championship game, after a strong start from the Jayhawks (7-0 after two minutes), the Tar Heels came back slowly, starting with a 3pt by Manek. As the game became more balanced (22-22 with 6min to go in the first), two three pointers from the same Manek and a dominating Bacot helped UNC lead by 15pts at halftime. Braun and Wilson rallied the troops to fuel Kansas ‘comeback as the game got tied with 10min to go. That’s the moment X factor Remy Martin choose to take over as the 5th year senior scored 11 of his 14psts in the last 10.23min, well helped by McCormack who scored the last four points which gave Kansas the edge for their 4th NCAA title.
Despite outrebounding the Jayhawks (55-35), UNC’s horrible shooting (31% FG, 21% 3pt, including 5/24 for Love, three players with 13 or more attempted FGs below 33% FG) prevented the Tar Heels from winning easily this game. Kansas’ offense was more stable with the five best scorers shooting at least 40% FG.
This title rewards a solid group of upperclassmen who may may elite NBA talent for the league but had all the tools nd solutions at every spot to make it all the way to the top.