North Carolina, whose heartbreaking loss in the N.C.A.A. tournament championship game a year ago provided one of the game’s indelible moments — the buzzer-beating shot by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins — avenged that defeat with a win over Gonzaga, 71-65, on Monday to claim its sixth national title.
The No. 1-seeded Tar Heels returned many of the players who left the court in Houston devastated a year ago. But at University of Phoenix Stadium, they could finally bask in the confetti that rained down from the rafters.
They beat Gonzaga, another No. 1 seed, which was making its first appearance in the Final Four. The Bulldogs (37-2), representatives of a small Jesuit school in Spokane, Wash., have never won an N.C.A.A. championship in any team sport. The men’s basketball team has been a constant presence in the N.C.A.A. tournament for nearly two decades, but this year — with only one loss coming into Monday — was arguably their strongest team to date.
It was a sloppily played game, and at times poorly officiated, as the referees seemed to miss several calls in the second half.
“It was an ugly game,” said North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, who won his third national title with the Tar Heels. “I don’t think either team played well offensively. The magnitude of the game had a lot to do with it.”