NEW ORLEANS — And then there were two.
Kansas and North Carolina are the last teams standing, with one final game remaining in this men’s NCAA Tournament. On Saturday, the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks played the part as the favorite in dispatching Villanova, while the No. 8-seeded Tar Heels escaped with a thrilling win over rival Duke.
“I think dwelling on the two wins against Duke doesn’t help us against Kansas,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “Playing for the national championship, if you’re not motivated for that, you shouldn’t be playing.”
Which team comes out on top in Monday night’s national championship matchup (9:20 p.m. ET, TBS)? A look at the keys to victory for each team.
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How Kansas (33-6) can cut down the nets: The Jayhawks have a dominant big man in senior 7-footer David McCormack, who’s developed his skill in the paint over the course of his KU career. He had 25 points and nine rebounds against Villanova, with coach Bill Self calling him “fabulous” and adding, “We’ve always known he’s the guy.” While KU has great guard play, especially from All-American Ochai Agbaji, McCormack’s frontcourt presence can ignite this team, opening up driving lanes and 3-point shooting opportunities. How McCormack plays against UNC All-American Armando Bacot will be a difference-maker.