The 2022 National title game is the de facto Roy Williams invitational as #1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks take on the #8 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. It was on April Fool’s Day 2021 that Williams shocked the college basketball world and retired from the game at the age of 70.
He stepped down as UNC head coach after 18 seasons, which came on the heels (pun intended) of 15 years at Kansas. Roy Williams played his college ball, for the freshman/J.V. team at UNC, the same place where he started his collegiate coaching career, under the legendary Dean Smith.
In the match-up of Williams’ two favorite teams, KU is favored by 4.5 points, according to Sports Betting Dime. The Over/Under is 152, with UNC available on the money line +160 and Kansas -200. Tip-off is Monday, April 4, 2022 9:20 p.m. EST on CBS.
Williams won three National Championships and went to five Final Fours as head coach in Chapel Hill. During his time at Kansas he had the Jayhawks in the AP Top 25 in 242 of 268 weekly polls.
KU reached the No. 1 ranking in the country in six different seasons while he was in charge and they were ranked at least No. 2 in the nation, or higher, in 11 of the 15 seasons.
“There is only one negative for me — that is my two favorite teams are playing each other,” Roy Williams said to the Kansas City Star of the matchup tonight.
“That’s hard. But it is easy for me to say it this way: I am not pulling for Kansas to lose. I am just pulling for North Carolina to play great. I never pull for Kansas to lose.
“That will never happen, but at the end of the game, somebody has to lose. It can’t change. That’s the truth.”
(Side note: if you want to check out the funniest and best Roy Williams parody account on social media, be sure to follow (@Daggum_Roy)
Roy Williams is a classic example of the proper and classy way to retire from the game. Like his mentor, Smith, he quietly walked away from the game without calling any extra attention to himself. It was the polar opposite of what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski did, as Coach K. engaged in a season long ego-stroking, with the mainstream media more than excited to platform it all.
All the Coach K. valorization and media coverage that came off like a Duke infomercial made anybody who was playing the Blue Devils the second favorite team of everybody watching March Madness.
In the end, it was Duke’s biggest arch-rival, now led by Hubert Davis (with players recruited by Roy Williams) who put a stop to that. One more step and the Heels will get the ultimate prize.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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