Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 72-69 loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament National Championship
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- What an absolutely magical run for the Tar Heels. If you make it to the national championship game, you would love to win it, but for an eight seed to do what they did, this immediately becomes one of the most incredible seasons and stories in program history.
- An absolutely heroic performance from Armando Bacot given everything he was going through physically. Prior to Monday night I would have guessed that he was going to operate at around 80-85%. Seeing him pre-game and his labored movements, I would put the number in the 60% range.
- To be limited in that way but still play 38 minutes and record a double-double (15 pts / 15 reb) on the biggest stage in college basketball ensures that Bacot’s efforts will go down in Tar Heel lore.
- Carolina held a 15-point halftime lead, but the attrition due to injuries and Leaky Black foul trouble in the second half were just too much. That said, UNC continued to show their toughness and had a chance in the final minute. Unfortunately, on what looked to be a go-ahead layup for Bacot, he re-tweaked his ankle and couldn’t finish the play. I’ll never forget the image of Armando Bacot, this 6-foot-10 beast of a man, hobbling down the court trying to catch Kansas. That’s the enduring image of the 2nd half: UNC fighting off injury and foul trouble just trying to catch up.
- All that said, Bacot still tied the NCAA record for double-doubles in a single season – 31 (David Robinson) and now has 49 in his career. He is the only player in NCAA Tournament history to record a double-double in all six games.
- Bacot was not the only Tar Heel with a double-double, two of his teammates joined him; one of whom you would guess (Brady Manek, 13 pts / 13 reb), the other you wouldn’t (RJ Davis, 15 pts / 12 reb – career high).
- Puff Johnson provided a huge boost in the second half (nine of his 11 points) but had to leave the court after being hit in the stomach. Just one of those nights for the Heels.
- Carolina set a new season-high for offensive rebounds (24) and total rebounds (55).
- What an unbelievable season for Brady Manek. We’ll have to debate this in the offseason, but he just turned in what’s likely one of the top three transfer seasons ever at UNC. Despite getting banged up in the National Championship, he still managed to hit three three-pointers, meaning he had at least three in all six NCAA Tournament games. He finishes the season second all-time in made threes in a single season.
- Carolina ended the season going 18-for-22 at the line, meaning the Tar Heels locked in the second-highest team free throw percentage (76.4%) in program history.
- Kansas started the game on a 7-0 run and it appeared that Carolina had indeed exhausted themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally on Saturday against Duke. However, the Tar Heels responded and rattled off a 40-18 run the rest of the half.
- Leaky Black picked up his fourth foul with still 14:00 left in the game and had to sit. Would things have played out differently with Black’s defensive presence in the game? We’ll never know.
- While the players will be disappointed in the result (“we’re here, let’s win!”), they can’t help but pleased with the overall results. Brady Manek obviously can’t come back next season, but everyone else theoretically could. If so, 2022-23 could be special. Stay tuned.
Postgame Press Conference
This brings an end to an incredible ride in the 2021-22 basketball season. Stay dialed in throughout the offseason as we update you with news about recuiting, NBA decisions, transfers and more.
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