Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.
That adage was especially true during the 2022 Final Four. Kansas took care of business against Villanova in the first Final Four game before North Carolina sent Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement in the other matchup.
In the championship game, it was the Jayhawks who made NCAA history. Bill Self’s squad overcame a 16-point deficit, marking the largest championship game comeback ever in March Madness.
With Kansas making history in New Orleans, here’s a look back at other Final Four and championship game records:
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals: Individual records
Al Wood and Carmelo Anthony put their respective teams on their back offensively in the Final Four en route to the national championship game. Gilbert Arenas and Jeff Withey, meanwhile, dominated defensively. Freddie Banks and Mark Wade even set records during the same game.
Here’s a glance at some individual records from NCAA Tournament semifinal contests:
Points: Al Wood, North Carolina, 1981 – 39
Points by a freshman: Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse, 2003 – 33
3-pointers made: Freddie Banks, UNLV, 1987 – 10
Assists: Mark Wade, UNLV, 1987 – 18
Rebounds: Elvin Hayes, Houston, 1967 – 24
Steals: Gilbert Arenas, Arizona, 2001 – 6
Blocks: Jeff Withey, Kansas, 2012 – 7
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals: Team records
UCLA’s 1965 Final Four performance has held a place in history for nearly six decades. John Wooden’s Bruins put up 108 points against Wichita State, including 65 in the first half. Both of those marks remain records and are six points or more than the second-best totals on their respective lists.
Along with UCLA, there are more premier programs that hold records in national semifinal games:
Points: UCLA, 1965 – 108
Points in a half: UCLA, 1965 – 65
Winning margin: Villanova, 2016 – 44
Biggest comeback: Duke, 2001 – 22
3-pointers made: Villanova, 2018 – 18
Assists: Louisville, 1986; Gonzaga, 2021 – 26
Rebounds: Michigan, 1957 – 65
Steals: Kentucky, 1997 – 14
Blocks: Kansas, 1988; Maryland, 2002; Kansas, 2008; Virginia, 2019 – 9
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game: Individual records
The NCAA national title game record books are full of big men from the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. Bill Walton scored the most points in a title game, Bill Russell snagged the most rebounds and Anthony Davis swatted away the most shots.
Here’s a list of individual records for the men’s national title game:
Points: Bill Walton, UCLA, 1973 – 44
Points by a freshman: Toby Bailey, UCLA, 1995 – 26
3-pointers made: Steve Alford, Indiana, 1987; Dave Sieger, Oklahoma, 1988; Tony Delk, Kentucky, 1996 – 7
Assists: Rumeal Robinson, Michigan, 1989 – 11
Rebounds: Bill Russell, San Francisco, 1956 – 27
Steals: Ty Lawson, North Carolina, 2009 – 8
Blocks: Joakim Noah, Florida, 2006; Anthony Davis, Kentucky, 2012 – 6
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game: Team records
When it comes to team records in the national championship, the 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels take the cake.
Jerry Tarkanian’s squad put together the most dominant championship win in the history of the men’s tournament. The team scored the most points and ended with the biggest margin of victory in a 103-73 drubbing of Duke. On top of that, the team also set title game records for assists and steals.
Here are some notable records put together by teams in the national title game:
Points: UNLV, 1990 – 103
Points in a half: Indiana, 1976 – 57
Winning margin: UNLV, 1990 – 30
Biggest comeback: Kansas, 2022 – 16
3-pointers made: Kentucky, 1996; Illinois, 2005 – 12
Assists: UNLV, 1990 – 24
Rebounds: UCLA, 1969 – 61
Steals: UNLV, 1990 – 16
Blocks: Kentucky, 2012 – 11