Morning Madness: Tuesday, April 4
One day short of a full calendar year since Villanova's Kris Jenkins crushed North Carolina's 2016 title hopes with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Tar Heels completed their year-long quest for atonement and defeated Gonzaga in the 2017 national title game Monday night, 71-65.
A defensive stop clinched UNC's sixth title in program history. Kennedy Meeks blocked Nigel Williams-Goss' jumper with 15 seconds left, leading to a breakaway dunk by Justin Jackson. That pushed the lead to five with 12 seconds left in a physical battle with plenty of whistles.
Fouls took a toll on Gonzaga's star big men Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, who were held to nine points each in limited playing time. Karnowski finished with four fouls in 29 minutes while Collins fouled out in the second half after 14 minutes of action. Just two days earlier, those two powered Gonzaga past South Carolina in the Final Four.
For North Carolina, it was point guard Joel Berry II — two bum ankles and all — leading the charge with 22 points, six assists and three rebounds. He was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.
It was a fitting way for UNC to close out their redemption tour, as the Tar Heels two best players Monday were a combined 3-for-26 in Saturday's game against Oregon. NCAA.com's Joe Boozell broke down how this year's Tar Heel's — not the most talented group Roy's had, but the most resilient — were able to overcome so much.
And NCAA.com's Mike Lopresti explores what Roy Williams' third championship — one more than his mentor, Dean Smith — means to a team that finally found attonement.
One Shining Moment
Need we say more? You can watch this year's version here.
A look back on all the Madness
This year's tournament wasn't bursting at the seams with upsets and buzzer beaters, but it had plenty of excitement nonetheless. We head back to a Tuesday night in Dayton, where it all began, and follow the tournament's best and biggest moments all the way to the Tar Heels cutting down the nets in Phoenix.
The stars were out
Unsurprisingly, Phoenix was a hotbed for star sightings as plenty of celebrities and famous alumni were on hand to take in the action. North Carolina, with no shortage of basketball tradition, was represented by nearly 50 former Tar Heels including Vince Carter, James Michael McAdoo and Phil Ford. Not to be outdone, Gonzaga's star power ranged upward of 60 former players. Among the Zags in attendance were John Stockton, Domantas Sabonis and Adam Morrison.
Even Michael Phelps and Odell Beckham joined in the fun to add to one star-studded audience. Check out all the famous folks to make the trip here.
In other news
• Ever wonder how "One Shining Moment" is made? Here's a look at the quick turnaround needed to produce the iconic montage.
• Georgetown has a new head coach, who is very familiar with the Hilltop. Three-time Hoya All-American and Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing takes the reins, as announced by the university Monday afternoon. He takes over after John Thompson III was dismissed late last month.
• Which conference performed the best this tournament season? That would be the West Coast Conference (6-2) with a .750 winning percentage — albeit Gonzaga was responsible for five of those victories. Among conferences with more than two representatives, the Pac-12 (10-4; .714) and SEC (11-5; .687) were big winners this March. Here's a full rundown of how each conference fared.