While Villanova celebrated one of the wildest finishes in NCAA Tournament national championship game history, North Carolina dealt with the emotional anguish of watching your titles hopes disappear at the same time as the game clock.
For head coach Roy Williams, that pain was too much to mask in his postgame interview with Tracy Wolfson.
At times, it seemed North Carolina was the team of destiny. They won the ACC regular-season crown for the first time since 2012, and the ACC Tournament title for the first time since 2008. This was also the school’s first Final Four appearance in seven seasons.
Finishing the year with an NCAA championship victory seemed only fitting for the Tar Heels and their senior stars Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson. When Paige’s miracle, three-point heave tied the game with just 4.7 seconds left, it appeared that a storybook ending was in store for North Carolina and its supporters.
But then Villanova drove the length of the court, Kris Jenkins fired one final shot, and the rest is national championship history.
Now, North Carolina must deal with this defeat and losing star players to graduation on top of the uncertainty ahead regarding the NCAA’s academic fraud investigation into the school. Jenkins’ shot spelled doom for this year’s Tar Heels squad, but it could also have killed the program’s best shot at a fifth national title for many years to come.