CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Thousands of fans packed the Dean Smith Center to watch the UNC Tar Heels take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the championship game Monday night.

The Tar Heels lost 72-69.

“It’s sad. We still made it to the national championship, we still beat Duke in the Final Four, and it’s always a great day to be a Tar Heel,” said UNC Senior Lauren Dode.

Dode and her friends were at the watch party at the Smith Center.

“They played incredible, just left it all out on the court, we’re so proud,” UNC senior Elizabeth Stanley said.

While the team came up short of the championship, even some lifelong fans didn’t think the 8th-seeded Tar Heels would make it this far.

“Not in the championship, I figured we would get to the Sweet 16, but not the championship,” fan Jerome Petty said.

A sea of Carolina Blue flooded the Smith Center. UNC Graduate Student Brynn Garner sported a blue wig to the watch party Monday night.

“My mom said we had to do it up right. She was here for the 1993 championship, so I’m hoping to be here for the 2022 championship,” Garner said.

Police officers and firefighters were on standby on Franklin Street during the second half in case of a Tar Heels win.