NEW ORLEANS — The men’s basketball programs of North Carolina and Kansas are set to face off for the 2022 national championship and the roots intertwined between these schools run back for decades.
This will be the fifth matchup between the schools in a Final Four/title game setting, the most of all Final Four team matchups.
It all started in 1957, when 32-0 UNC beat a Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas team 57-56 in the Final Four’s only three-overtime game.
More than 30 years later in 1991, KU defeated a Hubert Davis (Carolina’s current HC)-led UNC team en route to a national championship loss to Duke. Two years later, Carolina got their revenge in the Superdome (where the current Final Four is being held) and went on to beat Michigan’s Fab Five for a national title.
Lastly, in 2008 the Jayhawks handily beat the Tar Heels 84-66 as they went on to win the national championship in overtime over Derrick Rose and Memphis.
But the history goes back deeper than tournament games.
Dean Smith, UNC’s longtime head coach for those ’91 and ’93 teams, is from Emporia, Kansas, played at Kansas from 1949-53, and was an assistant for two years after that. Smith won a title at KU in 1952 as a player as well as winning two national titles at Carolina.
Larry Brown, KU’s head coach from 1983 to 1988 who led the Danny and the Miracles championship team of ’88, played for Smith at UNC from 1960 to 1963.
Longtime Kansas and UNC head coach Roy Williams was on Smith’s staff from 1978 to 88 before becoming the head coach at Kansas after Browm from 1988 to 2003.
Matt Doherty, UNC’s head coach from 2000 to 2003, was an assistant on Williams’ staff at KU from 1992 to 1999.
All of that to say, the history between these two programs runs deep and 2022’s national championship will only add to the legacy between these programs.