Breaking News
More () »

End of the Road: WFMY crews share experience of covering the NCAA Championship

We brought you the hype and hoops from New Orleans. Although the Tar Heels didn't bring home the hardware, they were still incredible to watch.


The End of the Road: 

Written by: Kevin Kennedy 

The clock struck midnight for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Their Cinderella run ended with a loss to Kansas.

I’m absolutely gutted for the UNC basketball team, the players and coaches, the cheerleaders and band members.

This magical ride may have ended with a loss but fans are proud of this team. Outside the stadium, last night fans we spoke with were disappointed but supportive.

One fan called it “a family” and said the guys gave it everything they had and left it all on the floor. He was right, the team may have lost but they aren’t losers. This group of young men gave North Carolina fans an amazing three-week ride no one expected. They upset a one-seeded Baylor team, beat UCLA in the Sweet 16, and took down Duke in the Final Four. The game on Monday night felt different than Saturday.

As fans entered the stadium they appeared more excited than nervous? The game against Duke more stressful. Fans wanted that win so bad, really they didn’t want to lose. It was almost like they were playing with house money. No one expected them to make it this far and beating Duke was like winning a de facto championship already.

The crowd from both teams stood up much more in this game than on Saturday. The game started great for Kansas but UNC battled back and took a big lead at halftime. UNC fans could taste another championship with 20 minutes away from the title.

Credit: WFMY News 2
Final Four in New Orleans

The second half was a disaster, players missed shots, lots of them, they turned the ball over and Kansas found an offensive groove.

Down 3 with four seconds left North Carolina had one last chance. Caleb Love cut the ball a little bit before hoisting up a three-pointer to tie. The shot not close, the horn sounded Kansas was the winner.

Being a part of this journey, covering the team and their fence the past couple of weeks has certainly been enjoyable. I wasn’t a Carolina fan when all this started but I’ve certainly become one. There’s something about this team, this program and this fan base that’s addicting.

Credit: WFMY News 2
Final Four in New Orleans

I met long-time fans better in their 80s. Young fans too small to see over the steering wheel yet and members of the band and cheerleading squad.

This season didn’t end with the championship but make no mistake these players and these fans are champions.

Credit: WFMY News 2
Final Four in New Orleans

I wasn’t born into the Carolina blue family like most but if they’ll have me, I’d love to be adopted!

We woke up this morning emotionally hungover, physically tired but also proud.
This team gave us everything we could ask for and for that I say, "thank you."

Goodbye from New Orleans. How’s about we do this again next year, Carolina?

Written by: Megan Allman (WFMY Senior Digital Producer) 

Heartbreak for the Tar Heels. Rejoicing for the Jayhawks. 

The first half looked promising for 8-seed UNC. Up by 15. Then, Kansas went from ice cold to red hot in the second half. 

We watched as Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, and other Tar Heels exited the court, appearing to have tears in their eyes or heads in their towels. 

You couldn't help but feel their pain in that moment. Wondering how that big lead slipped away. 

A heartbreaking loss for the Tar Heels as players exit the court. Right after the game, UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis...

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Monday, April 4, 2022

On the other side, Jayhawks fans cheered and chanted, as they watched their National Champions cut down nets and hear the sweet sound of One Shining Moment. Here was my view from behind the media section. 

The Tar Heels, however, have a lot to be proud of. They put up a fight and showed promise for a strong team moving forward. It's not the outcome I'd hoped for, but nonetheless, it's been an unbelievable experience to witness this upfront. 

Monday: Day 5 in New Orleans (GAME DAY!!!) 

Written by: Megan Allman (WFMY Senior Digital Producer) 

Fans are filing into the Superdome and the players have arrived! We got a glimpse of UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis walking into the Superdome with a smile. Wonder what he's thinking?! 

THEY'VE ARRIVED! UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis arrives to the Superdome with a smile. What do you think he's thinking?...

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Monday, April 4, 2022

Before that, we were outside with UNC students waiting in line until it was their time to head to the student section. We saw a Brady Manek look-alike, bucket hat swag, cowgirl hats, blingy chain jewelry, and much more! The Tar Heels stepped out in their best fan gear for game day. 

Game Day fashion! #TarHeelNation looking fresh and FLY! Ready to get that natty! 🐏🏆

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Monday, April 4, 2022

Tar Heels student section rolling deep! Into the arena they go! 🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏 #tarheels #goheels #marchmadness #ncaatournament #ncaabasketball #neworleans #nola #unc #fan #fun

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Monday, April 4, 2022

Monday: Day 5 in New Orleans (GAME DAY!!!)

Written by: Megan Allman (WFMY Senior Digital Producer) 

The stage is set! The WFMY News 2 crews are at the Superdome, already starting work ahead of the Last Dance between UNC and Kansas. 

Before we entered the media area, we saw several students (mostly Kansas) already lined up hours ahead of tipoff. 

Before that, we scoped out a spot for live shots outside the Superdome - at the top of a parking deck with a great view of the arena. Here's a look. 

While we were up there, we spotted the Kansas Jayhawks bus leaving the arena after their morning shoot-around. 

Monday: Day 5 in New Orleans (GAME DAY!!!)

Written by: Megan Allman (WFMY Senior Digital Producer) 

Can North Carolina do this?! Can the Tar Heels win it all? They knocked off a No. 1 seed already, early on -- Baylor. Do they have what it takes to do the same to No. 1 Kansas? They've really hit a stride in the postseason, and if they did win the title, they'd be just the second 8-seed ever to do it. Villanova won in 1985 as an 8-seed when the tournament featured 64 teams for the first time ever. It can be done! So why not the Tar Heels? 

The team is gearing up to head downtown to the Superdome. It's going to be a long day of work...but excitement building up to the Big Dance. Make sure you're following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all the behind-the-scenes moments in New Orleans. 

Sunday: Day 4 in New Orleans

Written by: Megan Allman (WFMY Senior Digital Producer) 

We spent the afternoon in the French Quarter, doing the "touristy" things. We got beignets from Cafe Du Monde. It's a fancy doughnut and I'm here for it. While waiting in a ridiculously long line, we figured, let's talk to basketball fans! 

We talked to a woman who's a Kansas fan, and for her, this Final Four trip is bigger than basketball. She's a colon cancer survivor and her doctor told her she was cancer-free in December. This wasn't just any trip. This was her celebrating the fact she's alive! We were so touched by her story. You can read about it in the post below. 

Then I went around talking to Kansas fans because I wanted to know -- what do y'all think about or know about the STATE of North Carolina? I got some interesting answers and some that honestly left me #deceased. 

I still can't believe we just witnessed that Duke-UNC game -- the matchup of the century! Amanda Ferguson and I took our fair share of fun photos and videos on the Final Four court when the game was over and all the broadcast crews had left. What a cool moment that was! 

Credit: WFMY
Final Four crew!

Humble brag: I rushed across the court and jumped over seats to get this photo of former UNC head coach Roy Williams. Fist-pumping and everything! I was so excited! 

LOOK WHO WE FOUND! Y’all better believe Daggum Roy is pumped and fist-pumping!!! 🐏🐏🐏 #daggumroy #tarheels #unc #finalfour #MFinalFour #MarchMadness

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Saturday, April 2, 2022

Before the game, Amanda snapped this photo of UNC head coach Hubert Davis stopping to hug Coach K's wife Mickie before heading to his locker room. It was such a sweet moment that clearly showed the respect between these two coaches and their families. It also seemed to resonate with our followers on social media, with thousands of likes and shares. (Hey, I'm the social media girl, I love when something like that goes viral and gives you the feels!) 

BIGGER THAN BASKETBALL | UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis stops to hug Coach K's wife Mickie before walking into his locker...

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Saturday, April 2, 2022

View our previous Final Four blog with all the fun behind-the-scenes content here. 

RELATED: Final Four Blog | UNC vs. Duke on the road in New Orleans

RELATED: Kansas vs North Carolina | Game Day Preview

Sunday: Day 4 in New Orleans

Written by: Kevin Kennedy (WFMY Reporter)

How 'bout them Tar Heels…?

The game of the century certainly lived up to the hype. It was everything basketball fans in North Carolina and around the country hoped for.

The crowd noise during the introductions of the players and coaches reverberated around the massive 70,000 seat football stadium.

Thousands and thousands of Duke and North Carolina fans screaming, cheering, and clapping for their team.

Credit: WFMY
UNC fans at Final Four

It was a scene truly fitting of this epic matchup.

The two long-time rivals have played big games before, in front of big crowds before…but this was different.

You could feel the nervous energy and overwhelming excitement in the stadium at the opening tip.

Most of the crowd on their feet…finally after all these years, Duke and North Carolina were playing an NCAA tournament game.

You could actually close your eyes and know what happened simply based on the sounds of the fans.

Credit: WFMY
Duke fans at Final Four

Made baskets were immediately greeted by deafening roars. While misses or turnovers were met with moans and groans.

It seemed like the moment, if not slightly overwhelming, took some getting used to by the players.

At the end of the first four minutes of play when there was a TV timeout for commercials… you could almost feel the crowd and maybe the players take a collective breath.

The break gave everyone a chance to maybe calm down if just for a bit.

When play resumed, it quickly ramped back up to that frenetic level both on the court and in the stands.

Fans of both teams seemingly living or dying with every made or missed basket.

At times during the game, my mouth would literally get dry…like I forgot to swallow because I was so focused on the game.

Halftime again provided a chance to breathe and process what we had all just witnessed.

This game…while not picture perfect (turnovers, missed shots, bad passes) was becoming a masterpiece.

Duke led by three at halftime.

The second half was a different story.

The Tar Heels going on a run at the beginning of the second half. Their players finding a different gear…their confidence seeming to rise. There was a swag about them they didn’t have in the first half.

Duke would never let UNC get out of reach on the scoreboard…closing the gap and taking the lead with spectacular plays of their own.

At times I just kept thinking to myself…this is FANTASTIC!

This game would go back and forth…Duke taking the lead...then North Carolina...then back to Duke...then back to North Carolina.

I can only imagine what diehard Duke and North Carolina fans were feeling. While exciting, it had to be gut-wrenching for these fan bases.

The crowd going crazy, this game becoming an instant classic.

During the final four minutes, both teams at one point had the lead.

With North Carolina up by one and after a couple of missed free throws by Duke, Caleb Love hit a three-pointer that North Carolina fans will never forget.

The game wasn’t over at that point but with just 28 seconds to go, North Carolina had put themselves in the driver's seat.

Duke would make a layup but some Caleb Love free throws would ice the game.

When the horn sounded, North Carolina players and fans were jumping with excitement.

This was not just a win. It was a win for the ages. North Carolina just knocked off Duke in the NCAA Final Four and in the process sent Coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement.

Credit: WFMY
Kevin Kennedy at the Final Four

For North Carolina fans, in some ways, this was their national championship. Many might say it can’t get any better than this. 

On Monday they’ll have a chance to find out if it does when they play Kansas for the trophy.

I myself am glad we all get a day to rest up because last night felt like the heavyweight fight of the century.

Down goes Duke. Congrats to the UNC Tar Heels!

Before You Leave, Check This Out