Duke vs UNC
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after falling as his shoe breaks against Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Duke vs UNC rivalry has long been one of college basketball’s most storied, with the teams’ histories so rich and their supporters so devoted that even regular-season games have championship vibes.

Coach Krzyzewski’s final home game as the pilot of this storied Duke program, a loss Krzyzewski deemed “unacceptable” in an attempt to motivate his team for a postseason run, was spoiled by North Carolina, who happily played spoiler in Coach Krzyzewski’s final home game as the pilot of this storied Duke program, a loss Krzyzewski deemed “unacceptable” in an attempt to motivate his team.

Duke vs UNC Was Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Final Game

And, as if it had been written in the stars, UNC put an end to Krzyzewski’s collegiate coaching career on Saturday night, defeating Duke 81-77 and depriving Krzyzewski of the opportunity to lift championship hardware one final time on his way out of the sport.

The game’s 18 lead changes heightened the tension until the last minute when Duke’s center Mark Williams missed a pair of free throws that would have put the Blue Devils ahead, and North Carolina‘s Caleb Love responded with a 3-pointer.

Few people remember Love sinking his first five shots or failing to score a point in the opening 15 minutes of the Duke vs UNC game. Instead, that 3-point jumper with 25 seconds remaining will be remembered as the shot that snuffed out Duke’s chances and secured North Carolina’s berth in the N.C.A.A. title game.

On Monday night, the Tar Heels will face Kansas, which defeated Villanova comfortably earlier in the day on Saturday. Krzyzewski’s remarkable tenure, which began in 1980 and includes the most victories of any coach in men’s college basketball, came to an end with the basket. He is recognized for developing decades of NBA talent, from Grant Hill to Kyrie Irving and others. In addition to Duke, Krzyzewski led the United States men’s basketball team to three Olympic gold titles from 2005 to 2016.

Krzyzewski stated after the Duke vs UNC game that his teammates were upset about the loss. He, on the other hand, was not.