The 2018 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Final Four will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on April 6 and 7. Check out our breakdown of who to watch for during this year’s event!

Kansas and North Carolina will play in the Men’s National Championship game on Monday night. The Jayhawks are predicted to win, but it is not without controversy. Kansas has been accused of cheating by Missouri during their semifinal matchup. Read more in detail here: kansas vs missouri prediction.

On Monday night, two storied men’s college basketball teams will vie for the opportunity to hang another banner to their rafters. At Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels will play for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship, hoping to conclude a spectacular run with one more triumph.

The Jayhawks, who took down Villanova in one national semifinal on Saturday night, will be vying for their fourth national championship (1952, 1988, 2008), and first since defeating Memphis for the 2008 title. Bill Self & Co. find themselves in Monday night’s championship for the first time since losing to Kentucky there in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels are attempting to win their seventh national title (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017), and their first under head coach Hubert Davis. UNC is hoping to equal the 1985 Villanova Wildcats as the lowest seed to win a national title, and will have to turn the page after an emotional victory over arch rival Duke in an epic national semifinal on Saturday night.

To preparation for the clash on Monday night, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway, and Joe Lunardi outlined what to watch for in this battle of blue bloods and predicted which side would win.


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Medcalf: I believe there would be benefits and drawbacks. Tubby Smith and I spoke a lot about the importance of winning a national championship in his first season at Kentucky. It was fantastic when he won, but it was terrible when he didn’t win another championship for years following his run in 1998. However, a victory on Monday night would solidify Davis’ position as Roy Williams’ replacement. He doesn’t need to win to do this, but a win would help him gain favor with the program’s followers. It would also provide him more time in the future to stamp his mark on the program.

There is no such thing as a plan for this. Dean Smith’s longtime assistant Bill Guthridge had two Final Four appearances in three years. Matt Doherty endured a three-year fight. Other than Smith, Williams, and Davis, they are the only two coaches who have held that position since 1961. “The Hubert Davis era has arrived,” a triumph would proclaim. However, I believe that a victory would put additional pressure on Davis to replicate the accomplishment and win large every year in the future. That’s a lot for any coach to take in.



North Carolina goes on a 13-0 run to start the second half of their game against Duke.

Which one player will have the most impact on the game’s outcome?

Armando Bacot, or, more especially, his wounded ankle, must be the culprit, according to Lunardi. If Bacot is healthy, North Carolina will have its hands full with KU big man David McCormack. If McCormack is restricted, which looks probable, I’m not convinced the Carolina frontcourt has enough length or fouls to prevent him from cutting up the lane.

It’s almost hard for me to create a formula that works for the Tar Heels against the present edition of the Jayhawks without a double-double from Bacot and his significant inside presence. In this matchup, he’s a must-have.

Is it possible to get a hold of Willis Reed?

Caleb Love, Caleb Love, Caleb Love, Caleb Love, Caleb What a fantastic thirty days he’s had. The All-ACC teams for 2022 were named at the start of that time period. Love didn’t make the first team, much alone the second or third. He was selected All-ACC honorable mention. In contrast, we’re now talking about a tournament superstar who threw his team on his back and scored 22 points in one half to terminate Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching career in the Superdome’s national semifinal. Not bad for a winner of honorable mention! There should be a law against the use of the “Kemba Walker in 2011” title on any player, but let’s just say Love has done the most in this tournament to establish his own label for future comparisons.



Ochai Agbaji of Kansas makes six 3-pointers to lead the Jayhawks to the national championship game.

Medcalf: Ochai Agbaji, I believe. Bill Self remarked after Saturday’s victory that the manner he plays has a big influence on this team’s shooting ability. And I believe he is correct. On Saturday, Agbaji was a significant reason the Jayhawks hit 54 percent of their 3-point tries against Villanova. On Monday night, I believe he will be the greatest player on the court. We also don’t discuss the presence of several players in national championship games. Years later, we still speak about the one player who stood out at the most crucial moment of the season. Agbaji, I believe, will be that for Kansas. If he’s on a run, Kansas could do to North Carolina what it’s done to every other team in the NCAA tournament so far, and win Bill Self’s second national title.

Borzello: Caleb Love is the solution, as it has been since he arrived in Chapel Hill over two years ago. Caleb Love is Good, I tweeted during the ACC tournament. Carolina was elevated to a new level thanks to Caleb Love, as indicated by the following statistic: The Tar Heels defeated four NCAA tournament opponents during the regular season. In each of those games, Love scored at least 20 points. The remainder of the season, he reached that mark three times against power-conference opponents.

In the NCAA tournament, he’s upped his game, scoring 20.0 points and putting the Tar Heels on their back at times. Thirty points in the Sweet 16 against UCLA, 28 points in the Last Four against Duke (including 22 in the second half), and the game’s largest shot and Carolina’s final six points. Kansas’ Dajuan Harris Jr. is a great defensive guard, but Love is playing at a high level right now and will need to keep it up if Carolina is to win.



North Carolina wins a thrilling game over Duke to progress to its 12th championship game, where it will meet Kansas.

Who do you think will win, and why?

Medcalf: These two teams, in my opinion, are a fantastic combination and have a similar attitude. They each have one typical big man, and the rest of the lineup — a mix of versatile guards and forwards — is allowed to float and play in a free-flowing fashion. In terms of adjusted offensive efficiency, North Carolina (18th) and Kansas (6th) are both in the top 20.

And, although this isn’t usually the case in the national championship, you might argue that Monday’s game will feature the two greatest teams in college basketball during the last month. North Carolina has figured out how to keep games tight and simply outlast their opponents in the closing minutes. Baylor came back from a huge hole, but North Carolina won in overtime. Against Duke, the Tar Heels did the same thing down the stretch.

The problem is that Kansas has never let a team in the NCAA tournament control the closing minutes of a game. And I don’t think the Jayhawks will do so in this game. Until the last ten minutes, I believe this game will be close. Then Kansas will defeat UNC at its own game and end the show with an offensive effort that will give Bill Self and Kansas another national championship.

Kansas 84, North Carolina 80, according to Medcalf.

Borzello: It’s difficult for me to go against Carolina with the way the Tar Heels are playing right now… but I’m going to do it anyway, even though I’m not feeling great about it. But there are a few explanations for this. One, the raw passion of the game on Saturday night. In their victory against Duke, the Tar Heels gave it all they had, and they justifiably celebrated in same way after the final bell. Can Carolina put that game behind them and perform at a high level for Kansas? I get that it is a national championship game, but the Tar Heels were exhausted both physically and emotionally on Saturday night.

The second point to mention is Bacot’s ailment. He’ll undoubtedly play, but will he give it his all? On the interior, we’ve seen what McCormack can do, and Bacot needs to win that battle. Can he win it if he’s not at full strength, both in terms of points and rebounds, as well as remaining on the court and keeping out of foul trouble?

My main issue for Kansas is that Carolina’s four stars are now playing at an incredible level. On any given night, the foursome of Love, R.J. Davis, Brady Manek, and Bacot is capable of scoring 85 points. The Jayhawks have a lot of weapons, but they’ll need to be blazing on all cylinders come Monday night, just as they did the previous three halves. I believe Self will have a defensive strategy up his sleeve, and I believe Kansas will chop down the nets.

Kansas 83, North Carolina 81, according to Borzello.



Check out Kansas’ Remy Martin’s top plays from the 2021-2022 Jayhawks season.

Gasaway: Kansas wins because it looks like Villanova in 2018. Yes, the Wildcats earned their reputation four years ago, in part by defeating Kansas in a national quarterfinal. That wheel has now turned. KU has played three halves of practically perfect basketball to reach the championship game. Prior to that, Kansas looked merely mortal yet still eliminated the Big East regular-season champions. The Jayhawks win when they shoot the lights out, and they win even when they don’t. In addition, KU has restricted its tournament opponents to a 38 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc. This is a difficult group, but I wish there was one more note recorded for posterity. Three of UNC’s five victories (Baylor, UCLA, and Duke) seemed to put the Tar Heels in trouble, yet the Tar Heels are still here. To succeed where the Bears, Bruins, and Blue Devils failed, Kansas will have to bring their A-game.

Kansas 81, North Carolina 78, according to Gasaway.

Lunardi: I have a sneaking suspicion that this game is already finished. When North Carolina was putting all of its effort into beating Duke, where were the Jayhawks? They’re presumably lounging in the hotel, eating pizza with their feet up and receiving therapy as required.

Yes, the Tar Heels are a group of young men who excel at resiliency. They’re also human, capable of rising to the great task of defeating Coach K for the second time in a month and then letting down after the job is done.

I’d feel a lot better about Carolina’s prospects if they had one more day of rest and recuperation, one more day of distance from the late Superdome finish, and one more day to deprogram the weeklong buildup to Duke. That day, however, does not exist. Last year, Gonzaga won a late overtime thriller against UCLA before being blown out in the first minutes of a game against Baylor less than 48 hours later.

Regardless of how hard Gonzaga fought, Baylor was the superior team that night. And, no matter how much the Tar Heels attempt to avoid it, Kansas will be a better team than Carolina.

North Carolina secured its place in history by defeating Duke. The Jayhawks are on the verge of receiving theirs.

Kansas 84, North Carolina 72, according to Lunardi.

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