UNC will play Kansas in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game after defeating Duke 81-77 Saturday night in the Final Four.
The win by No. 8 seed North Carolina effectively ends Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s legendary career.
In a back-and-forth thriller, Tar Heels guard Caleb Love finished with 28 points, while center Armando Bacot added 11 points and 21 rebounds. Blue Devils’ freshman forward Paolo Banchero had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tar Heels look to win the program’s seventh NCAA title, the last one coming in 2017.
Last year, Krzyzewski announced he would retire at the end of the 2021-2022 college basketball season. Duke associate coach and former Blue Devils player Jon Scheyer will take over as head coach next season.
Following the game Saturday, Krzyzewski said he’s focused on his team, noting some players were crying on the court.
“As a coach, I’m just concerned about these guys. … And I mean that’s the only thing you can think about,” he said.
In pictures: Coach K's legendary career
“I’ve said my entire career … that I wanted my seasons to end where my team was either crying tears of joy or tears of sorrow, because then you knew that they gave everything. And I had a locker room filled with guys who were crying. And it’s a beautiful sight,” Krzyzewski said.
“It’s not the sight that I would want; I’d want the other. But it’s a sight that I really respect and makes me understand just how good this group was. … We win and we lose together,” he said.
“Coach K,” as he is affectionately known, has coached at Duke for 42 seasons and is the NCAA’s all-time winningest head coach. He led the Duke men’s program to five national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and the last one came in 2015.
Earlier Saturday, No. 1 seed Kansas defeated No. 2 seed Villanova 81-65 to advance to the program’s first title game since 2012.
Jayhawks senior forward David McCormack finished with a game high 25 points while Wooden Award finalist senior guard Ochai Agbaji finished with 21 points.
The last title game appearance for the Jayhawks came in 2012, when the program lost to Kentucky 67-59 in New Orleans.
Kansas has won three championships in program history, the last one coming in 2008.
The national championship game is scheduled for Monday at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.