GLENDALE, Ariz. — Michael Jordan was not in attendance when North Carolina beat Gonzaga in the NCAA championship game Monday night, and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said he thinks he knows why.

“He’s superstitious like I am,’’ Williams told USA TODAY Sports, while adding that he had not had a chance to see if Jordan had left him a congratulatory voicemail. “He came last year, and we lost.”

Indeed, at the 2016 title game, Jordan even spoke in the locker room to North Carolina’s crestfallen players after the Tar Heels lost to Villanova on a last-second shot.

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Against NBA rules, according to Hubert Davis, one of North Carolina’s assistant coaches.

“He’s not allowed to because he’s NBA personnel,’’ Davis said. “He’s not allowed to be around us. He can’t have contact, like individual conversations and stuff like that.’’

Shea Rush, a freshman guard for North Carolina, said the team last saw Jordan March 5 at North Carolina’s victory against Duke in Chapel Hill, N.C. Rush also mentioned that NBA rules prohibit Jordan from being around the team but said wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan stayed away from University of Phoenix Stadium based on Tar Heel-infused superstition.


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For example, on Monday Williams made sure his Tar Heels had their traditional pregame meal of steak and salmon.

“Coach is superstitious,’’ Rush said. “Anybody that comes through this program is superstitious.’’