Kansas Comeback! Jayhawks Complete Historic Rally To Beat UNC, Claim Fourth National Title
NEW ORLEANS, LA — In what seemed fitting for college basketball’s all-time winningest program, the Kansas Jayhawks rallied from 16 points down to beat the North Carolina Tarheels, 72–69 to claim their fourth national title.
Kansas, who recently surpassed Kentucky in all-time wins, added to their illustrious and storied history in toppling another college hoops blueblood in the form of eighth-seeded North Carolina, after trailing by double digits in the first half, thanks to the efforts of Ochai Agbaji (14 points) who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, in helping KU claim the program’s first title since 2008, and the second under Bill Self.
Kansas’ 16-point deficit was tied for the fourth largest, per the NCAA and the largest halftime deficit overcome in a national title game, surpassing the previous the previous mark of 15 set by Loyola Chicago vs. Cincinnati in 1963.
48 hours after dispatching longtime rival Duke, and their Hall of Fame head coach, Mike Krzyzewski into retirement with a thrilling 71–67 win, any concerns about North Carolina coming out flat were distant, as they would led 38–22 with 2:23 in the first half.
The Jayhawks would respond in the second half in going on a 12–1 run, following two buckets by Caleb Love to trim the lead to one, before ultimately going on a 31–10 run to take control of the game. Much like their 2008 title win over Memphis, Kansas rallied from nine points down with 2:12 remaining, so this wasn’t Self’s first rodeo.
Motivated by the 2020 team that was picked by many to cut the nets before the coronavirus pandemic, Self and the Jayhawks players played with an edge throughout the tournament, that ultimately led them to embracing fellow Jayhawks stars such as Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden and Mario Chalmers.
With the 2022 season now in the books, the Jayhawks can finally enjoy the view from the proverbial bird seat as college basketball’s top program once more.