North Carolina’s win over Duke in men’s Final Four was an instant classic

Duke and North Carolina’s first ever matchup in the men’s NCAA tournament was always going to be historic. The fact that we finally got it in the Final Four and during Mike Krzyzewski’s final year before retirement made it perhaps one of the most anticipated games in the history of the sport.

With UNC as a No. 8 seed and Duke struggling entering March, this matchup simply felt too good to be true. It should have been impossible for this game to live up to such an immense level of hype, but somehow it did that, too.

North Carolina beat Duke, 81-77, to punch their ticket to the national championship game. The Tar Heels will now face Kansas for the national championship. The Jayhawks defeated Villanova, 81-65, in the other semifinal.

This was truly one of the best games you will ever see. Coach K’s career ends with a loss to his archrival.

The game lived up to the hype The final minutes of this game were absolutely incredible. Trevor Keels hit a three-pointer to give Duke a one-point lead with just over two minutes left. North Carolina’s Brady Manek answered with his own three on the next possession to put Duke back up. 

Duke came down and found Keels for a three that missed, but Duke grabbed the offensive rebound, swung the ball to Wendell Moore, and saw him hit another go-ahead three.

North Carolina took the lead back on free throws from R.J. Davis. Then Duke’s Mark Williams missed a pair of free throws. On UNC’s next possession, Caleb Love hit a ridiculous pull-up three-pointer to put the Heels up four. This was the biggest shot of the night.

It still wasn’t over. Duke’s Jeremy Roach drove down and scored a layup to cut the lead to two. After Love split free throws following an intentional foul, Duke had one more chance down three points. Trevor Keels was fouled and split his own free throws to keep Duke down two.

Duke fouled Love on the next possession, and he made both free throws to give UNC the win.