The battle to crown a new national champion in Division I men's college basketball is underway on Monday night in New Orleans, and at the half, it's No. 8 seed North Carolina who seems poised the raise the trophy at night's end as the Tar Heels took a 40-25 lead over No. 1 seed Kansas into the locker room. Early on in the game it looked as if Kansas would be the team to cruise toward the national title as the Jayhawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead. UNC punched back, though, and now the Heels are on track to give coach Hubert Davis a national title in his first season at the helm. 

North Carolina was led by big man Armando Bacot, who recorded a double-double in the first half with 12 points and 10 rebounds. That performance was good enough to give Bacot the record for most double-double games in a single NCAA Tournament (6). Kansas, meanwhile, was led by Ochai Agbaji who dropped in eight points -- but no doubt the Jayhawks would like to see a little more out of their star if they plan to make the comeback in the second half of this national championship game on Monday. 

With both teams firing on all cylinders offensively and the sport's ultimate prize on the line, Monday's title game figures to be a thriller.

How to watch Kansas vs. North Carolina

Date: Monday, April 4 | Time: 9:20 p.m. ET
Location: Caesars Superdome -- New Orleans
TV: TBS | Live stream: March Madness Live 

Kansas vs. North Carolina: Need to Knows

About the Jayhawks: The loss of the 2020 NCAA Tournament is not a primary motivation for Kansas, but it's not lost on anyone around the program that Self and the Jayhawks had the best team in the country at the time that the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Agbaji, David McCormack and Christian Braun were all part of that team and in this tournament have seen the bracket break their way at nearly every turn.  -- Chip Patterson

About the Tar Heels: According to BartTorvik.com, where you can not only check out season-long adjusted efficiency numbers but also sort the data set by date, North Carolina is the No. 1 team in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency since March 1. The seven-game run is absolutely up for critique because of the small sample size, but it backs up what our eyes have told us as well. North Carolina may not be the absolute No. 1 team in the country right now, but it's been playing as well as the best teams in the country since the calendar turned from February to March. The Tar Heels are a No. 8 seed in the tournament but the quality of play represents a team that does not check in as the No. 29 to No. 32 team in the field of 68. Still, the task of winning the next game is the largest at hand. -- Patterson

Kansas vs. North Carolina: Predictions

Kansas looked to be in top form Saturday as it not just ousted -- but trounced -- No. 2 seed Villanova in a dominant showing. Ochai Agbaji was at the peak of his powers, David McCormack owned the paint, and the Jayhawks strutted their way to the national final. UNC, on the other hand, is coming off perhaps the most emotional win of any team in Final Four history after knocking off Duke and ending Coach K's historic career. Will the Tar Heels be able to keep that momentum going on a short turnaround? I think they'll be up for the moment to keep this one relatively close, but it's a tall order to keep it within the 4.5 against this KU team. I'm laying the number. Kyle Boone's pick:  Kansas -4.5



KAN -4.5KAN -4.5KAN -4.5
KAN -4.5KAN -4.5KAN -4.5

Straight up


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