Confetti rains down on KU after 72-69 championship win over Tarheels

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Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 12:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA. (WIBW) - The Kansas Jayhawks woke up Tuesday morning national champions after completing the largest comeback in NCAA title game history.

KU took down North Carolina 72-69 for their first title since 2008 and their fourth time in program history. “This was a 2022 miracle,” said head coach Bill Self.

The top-seeded Jayhawks found themselves down 16 to North Carolina early in Monday’s NCAA title game.

Heading into the locker room, David McCormack was smiling and KU Guard Christian Braun asked him about it.

“He was looking at me and I was like, why are you smiling, dude? We are down 15. He was telling me, like, keep your head up, keep going, we will be all right, we have been here before,” Braun continued saying, “I was, like, man, I don’t know if I’ve ever been here before.”

“I was in the locker room telling the guys just believe in yourself, have fun with it; it is our last game regardless,” McCormack recounted. “Do what you need to do because that is how we got here in the first place. Do not doubt yourself.”

The team refocused and the rest is history. Coach Self went on to lead his team to a national championship, the second in his time at KU.

“These do not fall off trees. I mean, they are hard to get. The first one we got and it was great and everything and we knocked on the door since then, but have not been able to punch the ticket, so to speak,” Self continued saying, “Nobody has ever put pressure on me that we have got to win another one, but I think I put pressure on myself knowing that this place deserves more than what we have won.”

Five Jayhawks scored in double figures led by McCormack and Jalen Wilson with 15 points. Ochai Agbaji was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

He said, “I don’t really care because we won the national championship, but if I really had a most outstanding player throughout the entire Final Four it would be David. We got here at the same time. These goals and dreams that we are living right now, we never would have thought it when we first stepped foot on campus, but now living it with him and leaving here with history in our name, it just means so much to the both of us and obviously Mitch and all the guys here.”

The comeback is the largest ever in NCAA title game history. A storybook season capped off by the perfect final chapter.

Self said, “It would be special to win regardless, but to win when your team had to fight and come back the way they did and show that much grit makes this one off the charts. I thought this would be good and this is a heck of a lot better than I thought it would be.”

With this title, Self is now the first coach at Kansas to win multiple national championships.

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