Historically speaking, there’s nothing strange about North Carolina facing off with Kansas in the final of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament in New Orleans on Monday night. 

The schools have won a combined nine national titles, including three in the last 14 years (North Carolina in 2017 and 2009, and Kansas in 2008), and rank among the bluest of basketball blue bloods.  

North Carolina’s rich history includes none other than Michael Jordan, who nailed the game-winning jumper for Dean Smith‘s team against Georgetown in the 1982 Finals at the Superdome, where Monday’s game is being held 40 years later. 

Not to be outdone, the Jayhawks boast Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian-born chaplain who literally invented the game in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 before serving as the University of Kansas’ athletic director and basketball coach. 

But Monday’s final is a peculiar matchup for one major reason: The Tar Heels are a lowly eight-seed playing under a first-year head coach in Hubert Davis. 

The UNC alum and former NBA player took over for Roy Williams, who also coached Kansas as well during his Hall-of-Fame career, but the Tar Heels struggled at times this season while finishing 29-9. If they were to upset the favored Jayhawks, a top seed in the Midwest bracket, the Tar Heels would be just the second eighth-seed in NCAA history to win an NCAA title, following the 1985 Villanova Wildcats. 

Kansas fans cheer on the Jayhawks before Monday’s game against North Carolina at the Superdome in New Orleans 

North Carolina's rich history includes none other than Michael Jordan, who nailed the game-winning jumper for Dean Smith 's team against Georgetown in the 1982 Finals at the Superdome, where Monday's game is being held 40 years later

Not to be outdone, the Jayhawks boast Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian-born chaplain who literally invented the game in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 before serving as the University of Kansas' athletic director and basketball coach

North Carolina’s rich history includes none other than Michael Jordan, who nailed the game-winning jumper for Dean Smith ‘s team against Georgetown in the 1982 Finals at the Superdome (left), where Monday’s game is being held 40 years later. Not to be outdone, the Jayhawks boast Dr. James Naismith (right), the Canadian-born chaplain who literally invented the game in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 before serving as the University of Kansas’ athletic director and basketball coach

Oddly enough, Kansas’ Bill Self also replaced Williams, only he did it back in 2003, when Williams returned to Chapel Hill to coach the Tar Heels. 

Despite their intertwined history and all the games they have played – 6,394 to be exact – Monday night will be just the 12th meeting between them. This will be the sixth postseason meeting to come in a regional final or later.

By comparison, the Jayhawks have played Kentucky 34 times.

The first meeting between the Tar Heels and Jayhawks was a triple-overtime NCAA title game in 1957, with UNC capping an unbeaten season by outlasting Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas 54-53. After Davis´ painful loss in ’91, the Tar Heels won a rematch in the national semifinals on the way to Smith´s second championship.

But the Jayhawks have won the past three meetings, all in the tournament, most notably in the 2008 Final Four on the way to Self’s lone national title.

Most of the players that ultimately will decide the latest showdown between the historic programs know only of the past through stories and memories. Some of them weren’t even born when Williams was coaching at Kansas, let alone Davis playing for the Tar Heels, and it’s been up to their coaches to instill upon them the importance of this moment.

Kansas and North Carolina for the national championship.

‘I’ve told them this: The best experience that I have had as a player, hands down, was going to the Final Four,’ Davis said. ‘I told them, ”I played 12 years in the NBA and that was my finest as a basketball player, finest moment, just being part of the Final Four.” I was trying to convey to them how special it is to be here. Now that they’re being able to experience it is great.’

Both Kansas coach Bill Self (left) and UNC coach Hubert Davis (right) have ties to legendary Tar Heels coach Dean Smith, who passed away in 2015

Both Kansas coach Bill Self (left) and UNC coach Hubert Davis (right) have ties to legendary Tar Heels coach Dean Smith, who passed away in 2015

Kansas head coach Bill Self, left, and North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis talk during a CBS Sports interview ahead of the Men's Final Four NCAA basketball tournament final

Kansas head coach Bill Self, left, and North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis talk during a CBS Sports interview ahead of the Men’s Final Four NCAA basketball tournament final 

Paul Pierce, a former Kansas Jayhawks star and NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, cheers on his school in New Orleans

Paul Pierce, a former Kansas Jayhawks star and NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, cheers on his school in New Orleans 

Fans arrive for a college basketball game between Kansas and North Carolina in the finals of NCAA tournament

Fans arrive for a college basketball game between Kansas and North Carolina in the finals of NCAA tournament 

oseph Yesufu #1 of the Kansas Jayhawks warms up on the court before the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament National Championship at Caesars Superdome on April 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana

oseph Yesufu #1 of the Kansas Jayhawks warms up on the court before the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament National Championship at Caesars Superdome on April 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana

TICKET PRICES PLUNGE AFTER COACH K’S EXIT

Fans hoping to watch underdog North Carolina square off with Kansas in the championship could get in for as little as $22. Previously the lowest prices to see Monday's title game had been around $123, but that was when there was a chance that Coach K would be ending his illustrious 47-year in the season finale

Fans hoping to watch underdog North Carolina square off with Kansas in the championship could get in for as little as $22. Previously the lowest prices to see Monday’s title game had been around $123, but that was when there was a chance that Coach K would be ending his illustrious 47-year in the season finale

By Alex Raskin, US Sports News Editor for DailyMail.com

Prices for Monday night’s NCAA title game in have plummeted following Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Final Four defeat on Saturday.

Fans hoping to watch underdog North Carolina square off with Kansas in the championship could get in for as little as $22. Previously the lowest prices to see Monday’s title game had been around $123, but that was when there was a chance that Coach K would be ending his illustrious 47-year in the season finale.

Of course, the rival Tar Heels had other plans, upsetting their Tobacco Road rival in their first-ever NCAA meeting in Saturday’s Final Four, 81-77. Krzyzewski, who has been planning to retire after this season, fell to 50-50 all-time against North Carolina with the crushing Final Four defeat.

‘The biggest factor is that this was Coach K’s final run,’ Thomas Leung, a strategic analyst at the ticket website, Gametime, said in a statement provided to DailyMail.com. ‘Prices were at a premium previously, but now he’s not going to be in the championship, and people no longer wanted to see the game.’

The men’s national championship game is still a sellout, but as has been customary in recent years, fans are still able to buy seats through re-ticketing agencies, such as Gametime and Seat Geek.

Similarly, Seat Geek had ticket for as cheat as $36 hours before tipoff.  

Naturally, top seats for Monday’s game at the Superdome are still well over $5,500 on the secondary market, down from nearly $10,000 per seat. 

Similarly, Seat Geek had ticket for as cheat as $36 hours before tipoff

Similarly, Seat Geek had ticket for as cheat as $36 hours before tipoff



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