In an NCAA Tournament that displayed the newfound parity in college basketball throughout the first three rounds with historic upsets and Cinderella runs, the big boys eventually prevailed and punched their tickets to the Final Four in New Orleans.
The bayou will feature four blue blood programs vying to take home another national title and solidify another “Shining Moment.”
The Villanova Wildcats won the South Region, the Duke Blue Devils took the West, Kansas handled business in the Midwest and UNC took out tourney darling Saint Peter’s to win the East.
Duke will face archrival UNC, while Kansas will battle Nova.
THE FINAL FOUR IS SET!
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 27, 2022
College basketball writer analyst Jon Rothstein calls this the best Final Four on paper since 2015.
“The 2022 Final Four, Duke-North Carolina, Kansas-Villanova. Best Final Four on paper since 2015 when the matchups were Wisconsin/Kentucky and Duke/Michigan State.”
The four illustrious programs have won 17 national championships, UNC (6), Duke (5), Kansas (3) and Villanova (3).
The Battle Of Tobacco Road Goes South: Duke VS UNC One More Time
Inarguably one of the greatest rivalry in sports, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels will throw haymakers for at least 40 more minutes during the Krzyzewski era. The two historic programs with 11 national championships, and 33 Final Fours between them, but have never met in the Final Four. In fact they’ve only been in the same Final Four, once, and that was in 1991. UNC lost to Kansas and Duke upset that dynamic Larry Johnson-led UNLV team in the national semifinals.
It couldn’t be any more epic than to have these behemoths of the sport match up in the Final Four for the first time in Coach K’s final stanza. The vitriol and disdain between both fan bases is real and is sure to be amped up a few more decibels this week. Expect a few folks to have their social media accounts suspended after back-and-forth comments leading up to Saturday.
The two split their regular season meetings, with each winning easily on the opponent’s home floor. UNC got the last laugh, handing Coach K and the Blue Devils a loss in his final game ever at Coach K Court at Cameron Indoor Stadium. That loss stung and left Duke with regret for overlooking the Virginia Tech squad that eventually won the ACC tournament.
Tracy: "Cinderella St. Peter's or your rival North Carolina. Paulo, which one do you want?"
Paolo Banchero: "You're not gonna get me this time." pic.twitter.com/UBus7Y9wIt
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 27, 2022
Kansas And Nova Have Recent Elite Eight/ Final Four History: 16th Final Four For Jayhawks
The two powerhouse programs have faced off in two of the past six NCAA tournaments, once in the Elite Eight and once in the Final Four. Nova won both, leading to the Wildcats and Jay Wright cutting down the nets in 2016 and 2018.
He and Kansas coach Bill Self will be coaching in their fourth Final Four. This matchup will be overlooked because of the Duke/UNC game, but it will be a dandy, as both of these teams are capable of winning the whole thing. Bill Self wants to beat Jay Wright after those two previous losses in the tourney. He talked about his team’s big second half as they steamrolled Miami on Sunday 76-50, outscoring the Hurricanes 47-15 in the second half.
“We were locked in defensively, in the second half. We never were in the first half. The lid came off the basket. I think the first three that CB [Christian Braun] made kind of did that. But that’s about as well as we’ve played in this tournament so far.”
All four squads are playing their best basketball of the season and have a rich history of rising to the occasion in NCAA Tournament moments like this.