NCAA Final Four set a for clash of titans and legacies
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Jeremy Bryant
NCAA men’s basketball has almost reached the pinnacle of the season with four teams left to decide who will punch their ticket to the championship round and cement a different legacy.
The Duke Blue Devils will face the North Carolina Tar Heels in one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports for not only an opportunity to gain another national title, but to hold the ultimate bragging rights for the near future. North Carolina won both regular season matchups with the latest victory being an embarrassment for the Blue Devils getting beaten 74-46.
Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski or better known as “Coach K” has already announced that he is retiring at the end of the season, making this postseason run a little more sentimental for the team. He is 50-47 all time against North Carolina, and may love nothing more than to finish his career by swatting away his most hated rival on the way to a sixth national title.
North Carolina is heading into this matchup with first year head coach Hubert Davis as he looks to fill the shoes of one of the most decorated coaches in history. Roy Williams retired from basketball last season after winning three titles in 18 years.
Davis is no stranger to this type of success. He was an assistant under Williams for nine years, going to two final fours and winning the national title in 2017. He also played for North Carolina under one of the greatest coaches college basketball has ever seen in Dean Smith. It’s now his turn to churn out his own legacy as the head man in charge.
Villanova is also set to face Kansas in a game that is bound to get the arena rocking. There is not a lengthy history to this matchup, but there is some bad blood between the two teams when it comes to the tournament. The Villanova wildcats hold a 2-1 record over the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament. The last postseason clash came in 2018, where the Wildcats wiped the floor with Kansas 95-78 on their way to their second national title in three years.
Player development-wise, Kansas head coach Bill Self knows how to seek top talent and get the best out of it. Self has produced 11 lottery NBA draft selections, including this year’s NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid. The Jayhawks will look to rewrite history and rebuild the winning brand of Kansas basketball with Self’s lone national title coming in 2008.
Villanova might have the toughest path to the championship round with the news that the team’s second-leading scorer Justin Moore, will miss the rest of the tournament because of a torn Achilles. Head coach Jay Wright will have his work cut out for him, but it’s not the most improbable task he has done in his coaching tenure.
Wright has turned the Wildcats into one of the most feared programs in all of college basketball. The school has won two National Championships since 2016. The team will be fighting for their fallen teammate and to create one of the best dynasties in the last decade.
Both matchups face off April 2 in what may be one of the most exciting Final Four matchups in recent years.