With the Final Four coming up this Saturday, Andy Katz took to ranking his top 10 storylines heading into the huge weekend. Kansas plays Villanova and Duke battles North Carolina, which means there was no shortage of storylines in Katz’s breakdown.
Katz went even more in-depth on the Final Four and featured interviews with Kansas head coach Bill Self and star guard Ochai Agbaji in his latest March Madness 365 podcast.
These are Katz’s top 10 storylines heading into the Final Four, ranked.
1. Coach K going for his sixth national championship in his 42nd season at Duke
One of the biggest storylines of this entire DI men’s college basketball season has been that it is Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last.
He’s already surpassed John Wooden for trips to the Final Four with this being his 13th. His previous five national championships came in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015.
2. Duke vs. North Carolina in the semifinal
What a way for Coach K to try and keep his coaching career alive.
Somehow, despite all the amazing chapters in the Duke-UNC rivalry, they’ve never gone head-to-head in the national tournament.
“One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports,” Katz said. “And yet they’ve never met in the tournament.”
3. Jay Wright going for his third national championship since 2016
While the battle of Duke-North Carolina garners up most of the headlines, Villanova head coach Jay Wright is going for his third national championship since 2016.
THE BRACKET: Check out this year’s bracket and how we got here
In 2016, Wright led Villanova to beat North Carolina in the title game. Villanova took down Michigan to win the title in 2018.
4. Bill Self going for his second national championship in his fourth Final Four appearance at Kansas
Bill Self is known for his consistency at Kansas and for the fourth time since 2008, the head coach has the Jayhawks back in the Final Four.
His first and only national championship with Kansas came back in 2008 when he beat Memphis in thrilling fashion, 75-68, in overtime.
5. Hubert Davis going for his first national championship in his first season as head coach of North Carolina
This Final Four features four programs that are accused of being Final Four favorites. Three of the teams—Duke, Villanova and Kansas—have head coaches with resumes longer than a CVS receipt.
BRACKET TRACKER: How many brackets correctly picked the Final Four?
North Carolina, however, has Hubert Davis who’s in his first season as the boss at North Carolina. Beating Coach K and winning a national championship would be quite the first impression from Davis.
6. How will Justin Moore’s absence impact Villanova in the Final Four?
Justin Moore went down with a leg injury in Villanova’s win over Houston in the Elite Eight. He was diagnosed with a torn achilles and has been ruled out for the Final Four. It’s no secret that Moore will be missed as Villanova goes for a national title.
“They have some time to prepare,” Katz said of Villanova. “But still, that is a major injury for the Wildcats.”
7. Ochai Agbaji
Of the four finalists for Naismith Men’s Player of the Year, Ochai Agbaji is the only one still playing. The Big 12 Player of the Year is a key cog for Kansas.
“The award is given out Sunday morning,” Katz said. “Will he be just coming off a national semifinal victory? Will he have the award as he plays for the title Monday night? Interesting storyline this weekend in New Orleans.”
8. The high-low matchups for Duke-North Carolina
Aside from the obvious storylines of it being Coach K’s last Final Four and Duke-North Carolina meeting in the tournament for the first time, there’s actually a very interesting matchup to watch during the game: the high-low matchups.
For Duke, that’s Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams. On the North Carolina side, it’s Brady Manek and Armando Bacot.
9. The perimeter matchup in Kansas-Villanova
Speaking of matchups, there’s a really interesting one in Kansas-Villanova: the battle between Kansas’ Remy Martin and Villanova’s Collin Gillespie. While Gillespie won Big East Player of the Year, Katz had high praise for Martin.
UNDER THE RADAR: The big story that no one’s talking about
“He’s playing the best basketball of his life,” Katz said.
10. The tickets
If you have tickets to this year’s Final Four in New Orleans, you’re in for a treat.
“I think this is going to be one of the hottest Final Four tickets ever, certainly in the state of North Carolina,” Katz said.
All four participants in this year’s semifinal feature diehard fanbases that travel with immense passion. Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Villanova will be well-represented in the stands on Saturday.
“This is going to be a hot ticket in New Orleans,” Katz said. “I can not wait.”