10 thoughts on the NCAA championship game - no whistle needed

10 things we learned after Monday night's North Carolina victory in the 2017 NCAA Championship
By UPI Staff  |  April 4, 2017 at 1:02 PM
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10 things about the Final Four you wished you knew last night

1. The final featured a matchup of the two active coaches with the best winning percentages -- Gonzaga's Mark Few (81.9 percent) and North Carolina's Roy Williams (79.0 percent).

2. North Carolina appeared in its 11th national championship game, with its previous titles coming in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.

3. For the fifth consecutive season, the title game was decided by six points or fewer.

4. Roy Williams coached in his 100th NCAA Tournament game; he is 76-24.

5. Gonzaga is 0-8 against No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

6. The 44 fouls were the most in a title game since 2009, when North Carolina and Michigan State combined for 50.

7. Roy Williams won his third national title, adding to the rings he earned in 2005 and 2009 with North Carolina.

Williams is one of six coaches who have at least a trio of titles, joining UCLA's John Wooden (10), Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (five), Kentucky's Adolph Rupp (four), Connecticut's Jim Calhoun (three) and Indiana's Bob Knight (three).

Williams moved ahead of mentor and friend Dean Smith, who won two at North Carolina. It was an unavoidable topic at the Final Four, with media asking coach Roy Williams about it every day, including after a 71-65 victry over Gonzaga on Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

8. The NCAA has delivered three notices of allegations against North Carolina but is still investigating the potential academic fraud and has not handed down any sanctions.

Williams has been steadfast in proclaiming his program's innocence.

"I wish it got no attention here, because this should be about the kids," he said Monday night. "But I know it's out there. But the last three or four years have been very hard. I told you, people have questioned my integrity, and that means more to me than anything.

"I know that we did nothing wrong. I know that I did nothing wrong. I've been investigated 77 times, it seems like. And everybody came to that conclusion. But there were some mistakes made at my university that I'm not happy about either."

The timeframe under investigation does not touch any current members of his team.

9. Williams, who last month made a critical comment about President Donald Trump's tweeting, was asked about his thoughts on receiving a potential invitation to the White House to celebrate the national championship.

"You know, the office of the presidency of the United States is the most fantastic place you can be," Williams said. "But let me think on it."

Williams added that he doesn't know if he would get invited. An earlier White House invitation came too late after North Carolina's 2005 title because too many players were in NBA camps or playing overseas.

"But I know one thing," he said. "We're putting up a nice banner in the Smith Center that's hard to get."

10. Gonzaga first made a national splash in 1999, when the Bulldogs beat No. 2 seed Stanford in the second round and advanced to the West regional final as a 10th seed.

They haven't missed the tournament in any season since then, often playing as the lovable underdogs, but they weren't able to break through to the Final Four until this season.

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