New Orleans – The men’s NCAAM Final Four is taking place this weekend in New Orleans at the Caesars Superdome and if you thought fans wouldn’t be able to fill the stadium you would have been wrong.
It was a very packed house to see Kansas vs. Villanova and Duke vs. North Carolina.
The 2nd game of the night featured 2 of the most Storie programs in college basketball history, Duke and North Carolina. This is the matchup everyone wanted to see this weekend because not only is it one of the best rivalries in sports, it’s the 1st time these two bitter rivals have met in the NCAA Tournament.
Just like every other Duke/UNC game, this one lived up to the hype. It was a very high intensity game and you could tell early on that both teams really wanted it. Both teams started off a little slow with them missing some easy ones but it didn’t take long to get things going.
For Duke, in the 1st half they dealt with some foul trouble from Mark Williams who picked up 2 early ones and had to sit for the last 15 minutes of the half and Theo John who picked up 4 first half fouls. It hurt them on the boards but they did a great job of attacking the basket and putting pressure on UNC.
UNC also did a great job of attacking with their guard play. RJ Davis and Caleb Love were fantastic in the first half.
That all continued in the 2nd half.
Jerry Izenberg once said about Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier: “they weren’t fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world; they were fighting for the heavyweight championship of each other.” That’s exactly how this game felt. You could tell they were bitter rivals and both neither side wanted to give an inch to the other.
Every time in the 2nd half where Duke looked like they were about to take control of the game, UNC took it right back.
This is one game that no one wanted to end. It did though and it was simply because UNC hit one more big shot than Duke. Yes Duke missed too many free throws but so did UNC. This game came down to big shot making and Caleb Love hit the biggest shot of the night and his career. It was big shot after big shot and at one point both team hit 7 straight shots each.
It was one of the best heavyweight fights that we’ve seen in basketball. There were 12 ties and 18 lead changes. We would be lucky to get another game like this for some time. Truly a game for the ages.
We are now officially at the end of Coach K’s career and what a career it was.
UNC did end up winning the game 81-77 and were led by Caleb Love who had 28 points and 4 rebounds. His backcourt mate RJ Davis had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists while Brady Manek had 14 points and 4 rebounds. Armando Bacot was great also with his 11 points and 21 rebounds.
The Tar Heels will take on Kansas on Monday night for a chance to win their 7th NCAA title.
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