The Fated Farewell

March 31, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

One day after our Underdog feature on Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway, Seton Hall hired him. He went from the MAAC to his Big East alma mater in three wins. Cinderella rejoices.

And now, we look ahead to a Final Four matchup of destiny…

Letter Rip!




The Fated Farewell


Inside Duke vs. Carolina — The Final Four Matchup Ordained by Basketball Gods


If basketball had a God, he’s smiling and pulling strings as he welcomes Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski into hoops heaven with a monumental moment. Coach K’s farewell season has been full of ups and downs for his young Duke roster, but a trip to the Final Four, and a date with North Carolina, is the coronation basketball fans needed. Here’s a look at just how unbelievable this Saturday’s Final Four clash really is…


The 1st Dance of Tobacco Road

Saturday’s game is the first-ever meeting between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels in NCAA Tournament history. That’s hard to believe considering both schools rank top-five all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances. With a combined 95 tourney trips, 334 tournament games and 36 Final Fours (now 38), this is the first time they’ll meet in the Big Dance.


The Reason Why?

The NCAA Tournament bracket has a few underlying rules that have kept Duke and UNC from butting heads. Namely, the top four teams selected from each power conference are placed in different regions. Historically, that means Duke and Carolina — often top-4 teams in the ACC — would frequently be separated in the bracket until reaching the Final Four. Both teams did make runs to the same Final Four in 1991, but they were on opposite sides in the semifinal before UNC lost to Kansas and Duke beat UNLV, then won it all. That was Coach K’s first of five titles.


The Odds of Duke-v-Carolina

Since the tournament field expanded to 64/68 teams (1985), 2-seeds reach the Final Four 20.8% of the time while 8-seeds have just a 3.6% chance. Only twice has an 8-seed met a 2-seed in the Final Four, and the 8-seed won both meetings: #8 Kentucky defeated #2 Wisconsin in 2014, and #8 Villanova beat #2 Memphis State in 1985 before winning it all. That’s only two 2-vs-8 meetings in 111 total Final Four matchups since ‘85 — 0.018 percent.


The Historic Clash (By the Numbers)

Carolina holds the historical edge in almost every category, but Duke has been the more dominant power in recent history with Coach K claiming all of Duke’s titles (5), and all but three Final Fours (13 total) — the most Final Fours for any head coach in NCAA history.


Overall Rivalry (Head-to-Head)

UNC: 142 Wins

Duke: 115 Wins


ACC Championships

UNC: 50

Duke: 40


NCAA Tournament Appearances

UNC: 51

Duke: 44


NCAA Tournament Wins

UNC: 130

Duke: 118


NCAA Final Fours

UNC: 20

Duke: 16


NCAA National Championships

UNC: 6

Duke: 5


Duke vs. Carolina could be Coach K’s final game or the penultimate step towards a sixth national championship. The Tar Heels spoiled senior night in Durham, but the stage is set for the greatest Final Four clash of all-time. It\’s only fitting that Coach K’s last dance would yield the first dance that featured Duke-Carolina with title implications. Game on.


\"🗓️\" #2 Duke vs. #8 North Carolina

(Saturday, 8:49 pm, TBS)


Additional Storylines

FOX Sports: Duke vs. Carolina: A Final Four Showdown for the Ages

SI: With Final Four in Hand, Coach K & Duke Have Truly Epic Ending Within Reach

CBS Sports: How Duke, North Carolina’s Vastly Different Coaching Transitions Led Both to New Orleans

Yahoo! Sports: Why Duke & North Carolina Have Never Met in the Tournament — Until Now

FTW: Country Music Fans Furious as Eric Church Cancels Sold-Out San Antonio Concert to Watch Duke-North Carolina



Back to the World Cup \"🇺🇸\"


USMNT Books Ticket to 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar


Ticket, punched! The U.S. Men’s National Team entered Wednesday needing to avoid a six-goal loss to Costa Rica, and they did just that. The U.S. refused to over-extend their attack and focus on defense in order to secure their spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They lost to Costa Rica (2-0), but the end result was a third place finish in CONCACAF and a a trip to Qatar in November, along with Canada and Mexico. Costa Rica (4th) will face New Zealand for a play-in match to determine who goes to Qatar.


The United States finished their 14-match qualifying season with a record of 7-3-4 (25 points). They missed the World Cup in 2018.


\”We expected it to be a challenge and expected there to be a lot of ups and downs. A lot of trials and tribulations and we know we have a really young group going through this for the first time. We know how difficult CONCACAF is to qualify.” — USMNT Coach Gregg Berhalter


Watch: USMNT Loses to Costa Rica (2-0) But Qualifies for 2022 World Cup


CONCACAF Standings (Final)

1. Canada (28 points) | GD: +16

2. Mexico (28 points) | GD: +9

3. USA (25 points) | GD: +11

4. Costa Rica (25 points | GD: +5

5. Panama (21 points) | GD: -2

6. Jamaica (11 points) | GD: -10

7. El Salvador (10 points) | GD: -10

8. Honduras (4 points) | GD: -19


Additional Storylines

FOX Sports: 2022 FIFA World Cup Draw: How Does It Work? When Is It?

Yahoo! Sports: USMNT Seals World Cup Qualification, Banishes Demons of 2018 Failure



The Free-Agent Leftovers


Ranking the Remaining NFL Free Agents


The NFL free-agent market has been open for more than two weeks and a small army of big-name targets still remain available. Most of the household names still on the FA list remain unsigned due to age, injury concerns or salary cap issues that prevent them from signing the mega-deals they so desire. Expect these players to start making concessions, but many will still be available after the NFL Draft in late April. If your team is still looking to fill gaps, these could be your guys. Here’s my ranking of the top-10 available free agents:


Top-10 Remaining Free Agents

1. CB Stephon Gilmore

2. LB Bobby Wagner

3. S Tyrann Mathieu

4. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

5. WR Julio Jones

6. DT Akiem Hicks

7. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney

8. RB Melvin Gordon

9. DL Calais Campbell

10. OT Eric Fisher


Other Notable FAs: CB Patrick Peterson, WR Antonio Brown, C J.C. Tretter, EDGE Trey Flowers, EDGE Melvin Ingram, RB Sony Michel, TE Rob Gronkowski, EDGE Justin Houston, WR Jarvis Landry, S Landon Collins, OT Duane Brown, WR T.Y. Hilton, WR A.J. Green


Additional Storylines

B/R: Every NFL Team’s Worst Free-Agent Signing of the 2022 Offseason

NFL: Best Team Fits for Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr. & More

CBS Sports: Lions GM Says Team is Open to Trading No. 2 Pick in NFL Draft



\"🏀\" NBA: Suns Streak to 9… Again

The Phoenix Suns are back on their fourth different win streak of eight games or more, and this one just hit nine straight. The Suns took down the Warriors (107-103) on Wednesday, and they get another battle with a top West team (Grizzlies) tomorrow. If Phoenix (62-14) can win five of their last six, they’ll complete a top-10 all-time season with 67-plus wins.


\"🏒\" NHL: McDavid First to 100 Points

Connor McDavid scored his 100th point this season for the fifth time in his career in last night’s Oilers’ win over the Kings (4-3). Teammate Leon Draisaitl also scored his 49th goal to tie Auston Matthews for the league lead. Both McDavid (100) and Draisaitl (97) are 1-2 in the league points race.



\"⛳️\" Tiger Watch: Will He or Won’t He?

The sports world anxiously awaits the verdict of the most-covered practice round in golf history. Tiger Woods headed up to Augusta with his son Charlie for a practice round on Tuesday with the intent of gauging his readiness to compete in next week\’s Masters. (Sports Illustrated)


\"🏒\" Fresh NHL Power Rankings

Here\’s something you already knew: The Colorado Avalanche are good. They have been good for a while, in fact. But there\’s more on the agenda this season. Namely, the organization\’s first Stanley Cup since 2000-01. (Bleacher Report)


\"⚾️\" Introducing Home Run Derby X

Every child knows that you really need only a few things to play baseball: A bat, a ball, and some fielders to chase after everything. That\’s the spirit with which Major League Baseball has announced its brand new global bracket-style competition, Home Run Derby X. (



Seton Hall Men’s Basketball Hires Saint Peter’s Head Coach Shaheen Holloway

(USA Today)


South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston Named 2022 Naismith Women’s Player of the Year

(Bleacher Report)


Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians Moves to Front Office, Replaced by Todd Bowles

(CBS Sports)


Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins Retires After 13 Seasons



Conference USA Comes to Terms With 3 Departing Schools



Colts Owner Jim Irsay Calls Carson Wentz Era ‘A Mistake’

(Yahoo! Sports)


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