The 2022 Final Four should feature two fantastic matchups, especially the nightcap when the Duke Blue Devils take the floor against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday in New Orleans. This game will receive a ton of buzz throughout the week, and is the first time college basketball’s biggest rivalry was played in the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s a look at some of the Final Four rivalry games in this tournament’s history.
There is rarely more anticipation than this one with so much on the line. North Carolina already spoiled Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game at Cameron Indoor stadium in the regular season finale, and the Tar Heels have a chance to end Duke’s Coach K era with a loss in the Final Four. A win for the Blue Devils would give them a great shot at ending Krzyzewski’s final season with a national championship.
2012: Kentucky vs. Louisville
You won’t find many college basketball rivalries with more hatred among the fan bases than the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals. The two met in the 2012 Final Four - which was also held in New Orleans - with Kentucky pulling out a 69-61 victory behind an 18-point, 14-rebound performance from Anthony Davis. The Wildcats advanced and beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 for the lone national championship of John Calipari’s career.
1961 and 62: Cincinnati vs. Ohio State
I don’t have a great recollection of this one as I was born in 1993, but two in-state rivals played each other in the national title game in consecutive seasons in 1961 and 1962. The Cincinnati Bearcats have two college basketball national championships, and they both came against the Ohio State Buckeyes in consecutive seasons. Cincinnati won 70-65 in 1961 and 71-59 in 1962. One interesting note about the two straight titles is they started the year after Oscar Robertson departed.