North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks holds the championship trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ari.
The triumph at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona came in sharp contrast to the scenes of utter dejection a year ago when the Tar Heels fell to Villanova on a buzzer-beater in Houston, Texas.
Sure, North Carolina won its title - that's No. 6, for those counting, and third since 2005 - with a 71-65 victory against Gonzaga.
To return to the waning moments, Gonzaga trailed 66-65 with just under one minute to play when the Tar Heels' Joel Berry II attempted a three-point jumper.
Berry finished just 7 for 19 from the field, 4 for 13 from 3-point range and 4 of 8 from the line.
"I haven't had any", he said.
North Carolina celebrating its 2017 national championship win in several Jordan Brand styles. Nigel Williams-Goss scored 8 straight points for the Bulldogs to give them their last lead - 65-63 with 1:52 left.
Gonzaga coughed up two turnovers and missed their first five shots before coach Mark Few called a timeout with his team trailing 40-35. "The kid is a flat out victor".
Several of the fouls assessed to Collins were especially ticky-tacky, none more so than when he got his fourth jostling for post position away from the ball with more than 15 minutes to go. But the Tar Heels (33-7) didn't let that scenario shape up on Monday against Gonzaga (37-2), who was in the national championship game for the first time. The possession arrow pointed North Carolina's way, so the Tar Heels kept the ball and made a two-point basket with the extra possession to take a three-point lead.
Meeks then went to the free-throw line, shot two and missed both.
The party began with about seven seconds left when Tar Heel fans converged from all corners of town onto the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets. At one point, with seven minutes left in the half, the two teams had combined to shoot 11-for-42 from the floor.
Berry becomes the seventh player in NCAA Division I history to score 20 or more points in consecutive national championship games. Asked whether he might eventually feel good about it, he said, "You have to ask me in a couple of days".
He might have wanted further review on the scrum with 50 seconds left.
Williams said it was "very difficult" game to call.
From there the Tar Heels took over as Meeks blocked a Goss shot that led to a breakaway dunk for Jackson.
Gonzaga sophomore guard Josh Perkins, whose season high was 18 points, led the Bulldogs with 13 points before halftime. "Again, I don't know that we're going to get invited".
Each team struggled on offense, but with Gonzaga's big men, redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski, redshirt junior forward Johnathan Williams and freshman forward Zach Collins, struggling with foul trouble, the Bulldogs had to rely heavily on their exterior game.
"I just know we needed a shot and I just knew there was nothing stopping me from making that shot", Hicks said. "It came down to the last seconds", Berry said, "but we're champions now".