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#pounditFriday, July 1, 2022

Roy Williams reveals who he is rooting for in national championship

Roy Williams at the podium

Roy Williams’ allegiances are not as divided as one might think for Monday’s national championship game.

Williams coached both Kansas and North Carolina during his Hall of Fame career, but he does not have to think hard about who he would prefer to win Monday. A North Carolina native and graduate, Williams admitted to USA TODAY’s Scott Gleeson that while he is fond of Kansas, he’s rooting hard for the Tar Heels.

“It’s an unusual game for me,” Williams told Gleeson. “They’re the first two schools I check on. I always root for Kansas to win if it’s not against North Carolina. I don’t know how to even feel. I’ve decided I’m not rooting for Kansas to play poorly or bad or to lose. I just want North Carolina to play great, and I feel like that’s pretty reasonable.

“I look at this Kansas team and I really enjoy them. I have love for the program. But with North Carolina, my (allegiance) is quite thicker and deeper because it’s a school where I went, where I was an assistant there and it’s where my family all went. So it’s an easy decision on that front but having ties to both does lead to some (inner) conflict.”

Williams coached in national title games for both schools, though he lost both of his appearances with Kansas. He left for North Carolina in 2003 and wound up winning three titles there.

This is Williams’ first year watching March Madness from the sidelines following his retirement as North Carolina’s coach in 2021. At the time of his departure, Williams predicted that his successor would do even better than he had. The former coach will clearly be rooting for that prediction to be proven correct on Monday.

Photo: Mar 28, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams speaks during a press conference for the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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