Coach K’s farewell tour will end at his record-setting 13th Final Four. Villanova coach Jay Wright has Final Four appearances following 2009, 2016 and 2018, winning multiple national championships and has pushed his team to new, consistent heights.
Duke and Villanova, both among the blue bloods of college basketball, both made their way to the Final Four.
Duke delivered its most complete performance of this NCAA Tournament run to extend the career of its Hall of Fame coach for one more weekend. The Blue Devils beat beating Arkansas 78-69 on Saturday night in the West Region final, ending a magical run for the Razorbacks.
Villanova used a gutsy performance in an ugly win over Houston. The 50-44 victory came over gritty and athletic Houston team in the South Region final Saturday.
So… Arkansas and Houston… two non-traditional powers are bounced despite fun runs… eliminated at the hands of power programs.
“To see the joy, I can’t explain it, because, you know, I’m a grandfather, I’ve lived through my daughters, I’m living through my grandchildren but now I’m living through these guys,” Krzyzewski said before cutting down the net. “Holy mackerel!”
Coach K will now try to follow the path of the only coach to win more NCAA men’s titles as John Wooden won his 10th championship in his final season at UCLA in 1975. Krzyzewski broke the tie he had with Wooden for most Final Four appearances with the commanding win over the Razorbacks.
The Wildcats, seeing their fourth championship overall, will play either Kansas, the only No. 1 seed remaining, or 10th-seeded Miami in a national semifinal next Saturday. They have won two championships in Wright’s 22 seasons, in 2016 and 2018.
“We couldn’t get Justin (Moore) or Collin in ball screens. They just took it away. We couldn’t get Justin and Collin in post-ups. They took it away. It was hard to even get them backdoor cuts,” Wright said. “They took away our two leading scorers, and other guys had to step up.”
Duke will play either No. 8 seed North Carolina or tournament darling Saint Peter’s. If North Carolina wins it will punch the ticket for another blue blood to the Final Four.
Villanova will play against the Midwest Region champion in the national semis. Blue blood, and No. 1 seed Kansas and Miami play Sunday in Chicago.