The 2021-22 college basketball season concludes Monday with a blue-blood matchup for the national champion between No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 8 seed North Carolina – a No. 8 seed is the "worst" to previously win a title. The Jayhawks are -4 and their best player, All-American guard Ochai Agbaji, is the +120 favorite to win the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award with the Tar Heels' Armando Bacot and Caleb Love both +500. It most likely will be one of those three.
Agbaji was the Big 12 Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Wooden Award, given to the top player in the country. The winner of that will be announced Tuesday, but Agbaji probably isn't winning it. Back when odds closed for that, Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe was the -400 favorite.
In the relatively easy Final Four win over Villanova, Agbaji had 21 points and is averaging 14.0 points in the Big Dance. That number was hurt by a five-point effort in the Elite Eight vs. Providence. Thanks in large part to the senior, KU owns a 10-game win streak, the school's first double-digit win streak since closing the 2020 season with 16 straight wins. Kansas was the favorite to win that year's NCAA Tournament but it was canceled due to COVID.
Kansas is 3-6 in NCAA Tournament title games all-time. KU and UNC have met on six occasions in the NCAA Tournament, with Kansas 4-2 in those games, including 3-0 under head coach Bill Self.
Bacot is averaging a double-double on the season and also one in this tournament at 15.4 points and 16.8 rebounds – his 30 double-doubles on the year are an ACC record. Bacot did injure his ankle in the Final Four upset of Duke but will play tonight. Whether he's 100 percent is another matter. Love, a sophomore forward, is averaging 20.0 points in the Big Dance after 28 in the Final Four vs. Villanova. Carolina is 13-0 this season and 15-0 in two seasons when Love scores 20 or more points.
North Carolina is 6-5 all-time in NCAA title games and 2-0 in the Caesars Superdome. Hubert Davis would become the first individual to lead his team to a national championship in his first full season as a head coach. Michigan's Steve Fisher was the head coach for Michigan when it won the 1989 NCAA Tournament, but he only coached those six games that season.
The winner of the MOP usually goes to a player on the championship team but not always. The last player to win it and his team not be crowned champion was Houston's Akeem Olajuwon in 1983.
The other options to be on this prop: Brady Manek (+1000), Remy Martin (+1000), David McCormack (+1500), Christian Braun (+2500), RJ Davis (+2500) and Jalen Wilson (+2500). Certainly possible one of them can steal it with a huge game Monday.
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