Sunday, April 5, 2009

Then there were two

Well, it looks like the NCAA Tournament championship game is finally set. While it's not much of a surprise that North Carolina, who everyone tabbed the national champ before the season began, is in the final, how about Michigan State?

The Spartans entered the tournament as an underdog, mainly because the Big 10, well, wasn't that good this season. But as the top teams often do, Michigan State peaked at the right time. The Spartans were unbelievable in their run to the title game. They knocked off overall top-seeded Louisville, then, with the exception of 30 seconds or so late in the game, easily topped UConn, two of the best teams from what is supposed to be the best conference in college basketball -- the Big East. That dunk by Durrell Summers over Stanley Robinson was freaking sweet and Kalin Lucas was solid.

It was a great feel-good story for Detroit. The economy has been tough on us all, but at least for a couple of days, the folks in Michigan (who are really struggling) have something to believe in (especially considering how bad the Pistons and Lions are).

With that said, North Carolina is on a mission. The Tar Heels have been spectacular in the tournament, winning all their games by at least 12 points. I know that UNC dismantled Michigan State on the same court at Ford Field at the beginning of the season, but that was then and this is now. I think the Spartans will battle to the end, but the Tar Heels are too talented.

Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Deon Thompson and McDonald's All-Americans coming off the bench, that's sick. I said before the tournament started that Hansbrough came back for a reason and the X-factor would be Lawson's toe. Both seem to be doing just fine.

The Spartans need to take care of the ball and dictate the pace of the game. Michigan State would have to have its best offensive game of the season to have any hopes if the game turns into a shootout. The Tar Heels are that good, have that many guns in their arsenal and can score when and where ever they want to.

My prediction? North Carolina pulls away late and wins its fifth national title in this one.

Williams vs. Izzo, we are in for a treat. Enjoy it. I know I will.

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