‘I’ve Never Had A Script Flipped Like That’ | Kansas’ Incredible Comeback Stifles Hubert Davis’ Chance to Become Fifth Black Coach to Win National Championship

UNC coach Hubert Davis had a chance to become the fifth Black coach in history to run the table during March Madness. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks entered the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with the fifth-best odds to cut down the nets in New Orleans and were a No. 1 seed. But all the analysts could talk about were Gonzaga, Arizona, Duke and even UNC as an eight-seed. 

Once Carolina coach Hubert Davis reached the championship, the narrative switched to his chance to become the fifth Black coach to ever win a D-1 Men’s NCAA Basketball title. He would be following in the footsteps of others to include the legendary Georgetown Hoya coach John Thompson, who accomplished the feat in 1984 with Patrick Ewing. There’s also the defensive-minded Nolan Richardson, who led Arkansas to the 1994 championship; Tubby Smith, who hit gold at Kentucky in 1998; and Kevin Ollie took over for the great Jim Calhoun and immediately exhibited his coaching excellence, winning a title in 2014 with UConn.

(Screenshot/Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette)

Black players have provided more magical moments in March than we can remember, but the coaches who have risen to the highest levels of achievement are few and far between. 

When Carolina blitzed Kansas and led by 15 at halftime, most of the country thought Davis would be rewarded with a championship in his first season and immediately take his place among the all-time great Black head coaches. 

Somebody forgot to tell the Kansas Jayhawks, who were the ones to make history on Monday night. Yes, KU is a “blue blood” but they hadn’t won a national title since 2008. Many questioned Bill Self’s ability to win the big one a second time.

That all changed in the second half of Monday’s (72-68) title game win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. Kansas trailed by as many as 16 points (38-22). The comeback win is the largest ever in championship game history.

The Jayhawks showed a grit and resolve that even Coach Self didn’t know they had. 

“I’ve never had a script flipped like that. To win and show that much grit is off the charts,” the legendary coach said. 

The win gives Self his second national championship, and Kansas its fourth. He joins Villanova’s Jay Wright and Iona’s Rick Pitino as the only active coaches with multiple titles.

Self has said he has more talented teams, but they didn’t love one another like this team. Nor were they as connected and mature.

“We’ve had some really terrific seasons and some great teams that came up short. And I do think that when you have as many good teams as we’ve had — at most places winning one national championship would be quite an accomplishment. I think as many good teams we’ve had, one’s not enough.”

Kansas Players Never Stopped Believing: TNT Analyst Charles Barkley Called It On Saturday

Following the Jayhawks’ wire-to-wire win over Villanova in the Final Four, Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley picked Kansas to beat either UNC or Duke.

“Let me tell you something. Not only is Kansas going to play for the national championship on Monday, they’re going to win the national championship on Monday. I’ve seen enough, they’re going to be tough for anybody to beat.”

Looks like “Sir Charles” was finally correct in his predictions, considering he’s rarely been right in the past. Bill Self and his Jayhawks earned every bit of this “One Shining Moment, at the expense of Davis’ early legacy, but he’s just getting started and has proven that he can instill a championship mentality in a short time.