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Then There Were Two

UNC's Ty Lawson and Roy Williams face Michigan State's Kalin Lucus and Tom Izzo Monday Night for NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

UNC's Ty Lawson and Roy Williams face Michigan State's Kalin Lucus and Tom Izzo Monday Night for NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

There’s nothing like picking up with the latest in the NCAA Tournament when it was down to two teams. The known defensive powerhouse in Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans and the dangerously explosive North Carolina Tar Heels led by coach Roy Williams. It was a tough road for both teams.
Michigan State, the 2 seed in the Midwest bracket defeated (15) Robert Morris, the Pac-10 tournament champion in (10) USC, the defending national champions (3) Kansas, the Big East champs and the overall #1 seed (1) Louisville. Then they met another Big East foe in the Connecticut Huskies, the #1 seed out of the West bracket. Could Michigan State beat back-to-back #1 Big East teams? They definately didn’t dissapoint in the 5th Final Four appearance in the last 11 years at Tom Izzo at the helm of the Spartans. With a second half run and a defensive shutdown of A.J. Price along with the Huskies, Michigan State cruised late in a 82-73 win to put them in position to win a championship, their last coming in 2000. With the Final Four being in Michigan State’s backyard in Detroit, Michigan; the whole crowd was and will be behind Michigan State in the finals.
North Carolina, whom was the favorite coming into the season, was given the #1 seed in the South bracket. The South bracket had the most potential and was arguably the hardest region in this year’s tournament with the struggling but still tough Oklahoma Sooners, the red hot Syracuse Orange, and teams that could make run in Gonzaga, Arizona State, and even SEC regular season champs in LSU. Carolina knew they would have to beat the best to be the best and with starting PG and ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson experiencing a toe injury, championship in mind weren’t steady for this Carolina team. After blowing out (16) Radford then having little trouble with (8) LSU, (4) Gonzaga, and even a battle with Player of the Year Blake Griffin and the second seeded Sooners showed little problem for the upbeat and appearingly healthy Ty Lawson and the Tar Heels. With a balanced attack and deadly outside shooting, the Tar Heels outshot the #3 seed Villanova; who defeated conference rival Pittsburgh to win the East region. The Heels hit for 11 three pointers (Ellington 5, Green 4, Lawson 2) but missed 15 free throws even though the score left no doubt the Tar Heels are the team to beat by winning 83-69.
Down to two. This brings a Flashback early this year, December 3, 2008. North Carolina 98 Michigan State 63. A 35 point win for Carolina over this Spartan still lingers in the back of Michigan State’s minds. My prediciton: Carolina cuts down the nets winning a closer game this time,85-72.

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April 5, 2009 Posted by | College Basketball | , , , , , , | Leave a comment