NEW ORLEANS, La. (WEHT) – There is a new men’s NCAA Division I national champion as of Monday. Kansas and North Carolina went head to head for their seventh appearance in tournament history, the most of any other teams. However, it was just the first time meeting in the title game since 1957 when Wilt Chamberlain and the Jayhawks fell to UNC by one point in triple overtime. Since then, Kansas had gone 4-2 in their tournament meetings.

The Jayhawks held off the Tarheels only for a short period of time in the first half, UNC staying on Kansas’ heels. Until a three pointer by Brady Manek with five minutes to go that sparked an 18 to 3 run to end out the first half – the heels up by 15 going into the break.

Things seemed like it could be a done deal for North Carolina, but Bill Self’s team was not about to let this title go after missing out on their chance in 2020. Kansas was ranked number one for every week except one that season and they were the favorites for the title until the pandemic wiped out March Madness.

Halfway through the second half, it’s anyone’s game. UNC only scored 10 points to Kansas’ 25 in the first ten minutes to tie it up at 50. The Jayhawks took their first lead in over 20 minutes of play with a huge three by Remy Martin.

Now it was just a battle of who wants it more. Less than two minutes left and Brady Manek hits a tip shot to take the 1 point lead at 69-68, but Kansas was back on top by three just moments later. The Heels with the chance to tie but they just couldn’t get the three ball to go and Manek threw it away out of bounds.

There was a glimpse of hope when Kansas’ Dajuan Harris stepped out of bounds and turned the ball over, giving North Carolina possession with just four second left in regulation.

Caleb Love had the chance for the last second three but wasn’t able to get it to go. Kansas completed a historic rally, coming back from a 16 point deficit – the most in championship history, for their fourth NCAA title with the 72-69 final.

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, who rallied from an ankle injury in Saturday’s game against Duke, notched a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. RJ Davis logged 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Brady Manek had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Five Tarheels scored in double digits, including Caleb Love with 13 points and Puff Johnson with 11.

Kansas also had five players score in double figures, David McCormack logging 15 points and 10 rebounds and Jalen Wilson putting up 15 points. Remy Martin scored 14, while Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji each put up 12.

This is Bill Self’s second NCAA championship as the Jayhawks’ head coach, the first Kansas coach with more than one title. North Carolina’s head coach, Hubert Davis, was in his first year of coaching his alma mater.