Can Duke Continue Coach K’s Run In His Last Year? – BlackSportsOnline
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Can Duke Continue Coach K’s Run In His Last Year?

New Orleans – The Final Four is finally here!

March Madness is a time of year that most, if not all, basketball fans look forward to because of the excitement of the games every single year. Fans love the underdog stories, love the intensity of the win or go home games, and they love the history that could happen at any given moment.

Two weekends of that has led to only four teams being left and they are four legendary schools with 4 great coaches.

The first matchup of the night will feature 2 seed Villanova vs. 1 seed Kansas which will be a 2018 Final Four rematch. This is Villanova’s 7th Final Four in school history with it being the 3rd in 7 years with them winning it all in 2016 and 2018 while it will be the 16th Final Four appearance for Kansas. Their 1st since their matchup against Villanova in 2018 and will look to win their 1st title since 2008.

Villanova will be without one of their best players, Justin Moore, who tore his achilles in their Elite 8 win over Houston but it won’t be an easy task for Kansas who got to this point with an Elite 8 domination over Miami because the Villanova defense is still very stout.

While their offense will surely be hurt with the absence of Moore given he’s their second leading scorer, their defense has been where they’ve shined all season. During their season they only gave up 62 points per game and in the NCAA tournament no opponent has scored more than 61 in a game so their scoring defense has been slightly better. In fact, they held Houston, who was the highest seed they’d played, to only 44 points. If they want to beat Kansas, it will certainly be on the defensive end and not try to get into a scoring match with them.

For Kansas, it’s the opposite. They have gotten here because of their offense which averages 78 ppg while shooting 47.8% from the floor. Both of which are some of the best marks in college basketball. In the tournament, they looked decent vs. Texas Southern but didn’t really play up to their standards against Creighton and Providence but what’s the saying, it doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win. That was Kansas for those 2 games and then they looked like themselves against Miami.

Some would question how they got here because of their somewhat inconsistent play, but they are here and their game against Miami might have been the offensive confidence boost that they needed.

The key for them will be Big 12 Player of the Year and Naismith finalist Ochai Agbaji. He hadn’t really played well in the Tournament, except for a good game against Miami, so they will certainly need their best player to play like the Naismith finalist he is. If he does, Kansas should be headed to the National Championship.

Now, the matchup that really has everyone talking is Duke vs. North Carolina. It’s the best rivalry in college basketball and some consider it the best rivalry in all of sports. This will be the 1st time the two storied programs will meet in the NCAA Tournament and there might not be anything better than that.

To take things to another level though, this is coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last season coaching so this could very well be his last game ever. UNC will love nothing more than to ruin his championship run just like they ruined his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium a few weeks ago.

It is the 17th Final Four appearance in school history with it being Coach K’s 13th which is the most for any coach in mens basketball.

On paper, Duke is the more talented team with 5 of their top 6 guys being projected 1st round picks in this summer’s NBA Draft. Led by freshman star Paolo Banchero, this team hasn’t once fell to the pressure of any game possibly being Coach K’s last. In fact, one could argue that they are playing their best basketball right now. They have been locked in on both ends of the floor and have played extremely poised basketball.

During the regular season, when they would get punched in the mouth they would fold and not really fight back. The Tournament has been very different though. They’ve taken all kinds of punches against Michigan St., Texas Tech, and Arkansas but got up and fought back. They don’t want this to end without a Championship in Coach K’s last season.

But it won’t be easy.

UNC is also playing their best basketball right now. The beginning of the season was a little rocky for them but 1st year head coach Hubert Davis has them clicking on all cylinders right now. As an 8 seed they would normally be seen as a big underdog but not tonight.

This is the 21st Final Four in school history with their last one coming in 2017 when they won the NCAA Championship. It will be the 1st for Coach Davis though.

They might not have the names or “star power” that Duke has but they don’t lack the talent. With Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, Brady Manek, RJ Davis, and Leaky Black they have plenty of talent to get the job done against this Duke team.

It won’t be easy at all but this should be a great game with the intensity going through the roof of the Caesar’s Superdome.

Now for the picks!

The 1st game between Kansas and Villanova will be an underrated good game. It will be whose strength will show out more. Kansas’ offense or Villanova’s defense. My heart says Nova but losing Justin Moore is huge and without his scoring it will be hard to match the scoring Kansas will do so I’m going to pick Kansas.

The 2nd game featuring Duke and UNC will also be exciting. The intensity has the potential to be something we’ve never seen before at this stage and I’m going to have to go with Duke. UNC got the best of them a few weeks ago in Cameron so Duke will be looking to get some revenge. They also don’t want to seem to lose this game for Coach K.

Get ready for some great basketball tonight.