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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carolina clobbering

Tar Heels claim fifth NCAA title with stomping of Spartans

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, center, celebrates with his team after the Tar Heels’ 89-72 victory over Michigan State. Carolina easily defeated the Spartans in the NCAA championship game on Monday in Detroit.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, center, celebrates with his team after the Tar Heels’ 89-72 victory over Michigan State. Carolina easily defeated the Spartans in the NCAA championship game on Monday in Detroit.

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Eric Gay/AP Photo

Michigan State players Korie Lucious (34) and Marquise Gray console each other on the bench toward the end of the game.

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— Warm and fuzzy they were not.

For a year, maybe more, North Carolina could feel this national championship coming.

It was a calculated march, and behind the unrelenting play of Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson, the Tar Heels stomped out Michigan State’s inspirational run Monday night with an 89-72 blowout that wasn’t that close.

“I felt like it was fitting for us to do what this group just accomplished,” coach Roy Williams said.

Hansbrough scored 18 points, Ellington had 19 and Lawson led all scorers with 21 and also had a record eight steals. Now, they and Danny Green can all head to the NBA feeling good about their decision to return to school. They’re bringing home Carolina’s fifth championship, and the second for Williams.

All those upperclassmen, save Hansbrough, came back in part because their draft prospects didn’t look so good. They also didn’t want their college careers to end on last year’s embarrassing loss to Kansas University in the Final Four. That was a dud of a game in which they trailed, 40-12, in the first half and Billy Packer was telling CBS viewers it was over.

This time, North Carolina led, 36-13, around the time “Dancing With The Stars” was starting on another network. At least nobody knew how that one was going to end.

This game, though, was a slam dunk. Ellington got choked up as he basked in the confetti. Williams gave a shout-out to his mentor, Dean Smith, and he almost started crying, too. Hansbrough was the first to grab one of those “National Champion” T-shirts. Nobody worked harder for it than him.

“Sounds like I made a pretty good decision,” Hansbrough said. “Nothing beats this feeling right here.”

Likewise, it can’t feel much worse for the Spartans (31-7). They never had a chance. They had been on an uplifting run, and the final chapter was supposed to be the national championship. It would, the storybook said, bring the definitive ray of sunshine to a city and state that’s been battered by an ailing economy.

Instead, the 90-mile ride home to East Lansing will be a quiet one.

“You’ve got six NBA players that could be drafted in the first round or early second,” Spartans guard Travis Walton said. “You’re looking at a team that could probably beat the worst team in the NBA.”

The Tar Heels (34-4) were up, 55-34, at halftime, breaking a 42-year-old title-game record for biggest lead at the break and setting the mark for most points at the half.

By then, Lawson had already set an NCAA title-game record with seven steals.

“When you play North Carolina, there’s nothing you can do,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Lawson says it all. He does stir the drink.”

This collection of NBA talent was too much from wire to wire, from the start of the tournament, to the very end.

Carolina won every game by double digits, something that hasn’t happened since Duke did it in 2001.

Lots of basketball fans saw this coming, including America’s No. 1 Hoopster-in-Chief.

Yes, President Barack Obama picked the Tar Heels to take it all in his much-publicized bracket.

Magic Johnson, Michigan State’s Spartan-in-Chief, joined Larry Bird at center court to present the game ball, a tribute to the 30-year anniversary of their historic matchup and Michigan State’s first title.

From there, it was pretty much all “Showtime,” all the time — but not for Michigan State. Heck, Magic didn’t even stick around for the end. He was spotted walking up the tunnel with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Izzo tried to call a timeout to stop the onslaught with 6:45 left in the first half. His team came out and promptly turned it over — one of 14 in the first half, compared to only 12 baskets.

Goran Suton led the Spartans with 17 points, and Kalin Lucas, the Big Ten player of the year, had 14 — most scored once the game was out of hand, which was very early in this one.

Michigan State pulled within 13 a couple times late in the second half, and the crowd of 72,922 — mostly pulling for the Spartans — tried to make some noise.

But for most of the game, cavernous Ford Field had the atmosphere of a Lions game, save the few thousand Tar Heel fans whose Carolina Blue team put in a much better blue-collar effort than the team that was supposed to pride itself on that.

“I just don’t think we did the things we did all year,” Izzo said. “When you say that, you take away some credit from North Carolina, and I don’t want to do that. It was a combination of us and them, but we need to take some of the blame.”

As for that 98-63 beatdown Carolina put on Michigan State in this same building back on Dec. 3? No fluke. In fact, Detroit might want to give Ford Field a nice, long break. The winless Lions went 0-8 here last season, and there was no halt to the Motor City’s misery on this night.

It was, almost literally, over before it began. Ellington had a double-pump scoop layup and a 3-pointer and Hansbrough spotted up and sank a 14-foot jumper — all in the first 4:25 to put Carolina ahead 17-7. It never got closer.

The Spartans, meanwhile, were having trouble simply getting the ball in after Tar Heel buckets, turning it over that way twice in the first 6 minutes, part of a depressing day that didn’t do justice to the effort they put in to get here.

During pregame introductions, Williams walked over to shake hands with Izzo, who was distracted, drawing up a play on the greaseboard in the huddle. He jokingly showed the diagram to Williams — and you know what: It probably wouldn’t have mattered.

Izzo conceded in the lead-up to the game that if both teams played their best, Michigan State would lose. He’ll never find out if he was right because, while North Carolina was more than ready, the Spartans never showed up.

“The best team won,” Izzo said. “That’s an easy statement to make.”

Williams joined Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan and Mike Krzyzewski as the fourth active coach (13th overall) to win multiple titles.

This title came four years after his first championship — and for the first time, with a roster full of his own recruits.

“Roy Williams is not that good,” Williams said. “But boy, ol’ Roy’s got some big-time players. That’s what it takes.”

Hansbrough was the only one who knew he wanted to come back from the get-go. He simply loves college, and though his senior season wasn’t quite as good as the year before, the ending was much better. Nobody on Michigan State could stop him — no shame there — and he had seven rebounds and two assists to go with the 18 points.

“I desperately wanted this championship for that young man,” Williams said. “I know it’s corny, but that’s who I am.”

Lawson was often criticized for not looking to shoot enough, and he sort of went back to his roots in this one. He finished only 3-for-10 from the floor but was a dominating presence, with six assists and a whopping 18 trips to the free-throw line.

Oh, and don’t forget Ed Davis. We’ll be seeing the 6-10 freshman in the pros with these other guys someday soon. He went 5-for-7 for 11 points with eight rebounds in 14 minutes and may have proven all he needs to, as well.

Overall, North Carolina dominated every matchup on the floor in pretty much every way. The Tar Heels were a unanimous No. 1 in the preseason and became the first UNC team to start and finish at No. 1 since 1982.

Michael Jordan was the star of that team.

There may not be any Jordans on this team, but there were plenty of Hansbroughs and Lawsons and Ellingtons — more than enough to finish off a project that seemed destined to end the way it did: On a ladder in Detroit, with scissors and twine in their hands.

Comments

mbmerriman 10 years, 9 months ago

roy held off the tears til the press conference, i saw his red eyes!!! im happy for all the heels except for one (the white dude). Ty and Wayne deserved this title, they might go down as one of the better teams in the last 20+ years

Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

This Roy-Carolina win makes me think of Geometry. It's like, in Geometry when they say two-squared? You think it means two times two equals four. But really, they mean an actual square. Because it's really just open space. It's not numbers. It's space. And it's perfect space. But only in your head, because you can't draw a perfect square in a material world, but in your mind you can have perfect space....After the N.C game I feel like a winner in my imaginary perfect space, but also totally lost and disturbed by the countless, past, linear movements of these warped time-lines...Too many unanswered questions as to the why and how of Old-boy-Roy and his merry band of rednecks, I sadly regress.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

The Molecules of Roy Williams. written by Nobody.

Molecules. Because of molecules, we are connected to the outside world from our bodies. Like when you smell things, because when you smell a smell, it’s not really a smell. It’s part of the object that’s come off it—Molecules. So when you smell something bad, it’s like in a way you’re eating it. This is why you should not really smell things in the same way you don’t eat everything in the world around you, because, as a smell, it can get inside of you. So the next time you go into the bathroom after someone else has been there, remember what kind of molecules you are in fact eating because it probably tastes a lot like poop….Molecules…

KUPROUD 10 years, 9 months ago

Yes, Congratulations Roy. Good-bye, and good luck. Okay, Sherron and Cole, see how good it is to stay another year and win the prize. Next year is your opportunity to make a run. Is it October yet?

TwinCitiesJHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Please take this picture off the front page. This is KUSports.com. You shouldnt be showing Carolina players holding up a championship on a Jayhawk Site!

Lindsey Buscher 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

craigers 10 years, 9 months ago

Congrats Roy, but man what was the deal the whole time you were at KU???

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 9 months ago

kudos to Roy, his staff and players...they manhandled MSU, and made the game basically unwatchable for the 2nd half, because you knew UNC would win.

All the kids came back for another year, a rarity, and they took advantage. the Spartans didn't know what hit them.

Now Roy has a title with his own players, doing it his way. Congrats.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

There is an obvious trend showing up again and again

.....look at the last four champions..Florida, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, then total up the number of four and three and even two year players. Now total up the number of One and Dones........See what I mean????

rawkhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations Roy! You're a great coach and have made KU fans like myself proud over the years.

badtad1 10 years, 9 months ago

Congrats Roy and UNC.

Looks like the new Memphis coach made a great hire in Carl Henry. See ya Xavier!

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 9 months ago

badtad1

I had been wondering what this kid was waiting for, and then when I saw the news on Pastner it all fell into place.

I would like to think that UNC took a page out of the Kansas play book in winning this title. What I saw in last night's game was a Roy Williams team actually willing to play defense for extended periods of time.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 9 months ago

oakvillejayhawk:

Actually, you should go back to 2005 and it digusts me even more.

2005-North Carolina 2006-Florida 2007-Florida 2008-Kansas 2009-North Carolina

I would love for it to be Kansas in 2010 just to keep pace, but it seems like my wishes only come around every 20 years.

TtownHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Get this crap off the site. This is KUsports.com not carolinacrap.com

Hays_Hawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I absolutely cannot STAND UNC in any way shape or form. I'm still not a fan of Roy...it's pathetic how much UNC is talked about compared to other schools, and I really, REALLY can't stand that gomer TH. Look up "gomer" in the dictionary and that dudes picture, big buggy eyes and all, is right there.

I come to KUSports.com from ESPN.com because I don't want to see anymore pics or stories about those punks and what do I get...ANOTHER UNC STORY ON A KU WEBSITE!!! Get this SH#% OFF OF HERE!!!

Scott Smetana 10 years, 9 months ago

Nice job Roy... no more hard feelings here after you wore that KU sticker.

Time to toot my horn.... just before the brackets were announced, I said, "as long as we're no where around MSU or UNC."

Funny how the media didn't mention how the Mighty Big East had no teams in the final.

In my opinion, UNC this year was the best college basketball team EVER.... especially on offense. We EASILY could have been in that game instead of MSU, but likely would have been the same half-time score.

Detroit stinks... I didn't like how CBS kept bragging about the attendence, but lack of noise and the view from the upper level. I like how the ESPN post-game was on the riverwalk last year. This year, they decided to highlight Detroit by putting the post game in the upper rafters of Ford Field. Snow outside! Keep the charity dollars out of Detroit and get the Final 4 back to a warm, fun destination in an NBA ARENA so that I might actually go!

Ouch.. is it true?!? Did Memphis just hire Xavier's Dad? On that line, can't Self get Mr. Aldrich a job at KU?

kerplunkr 10 years, 9 months ago

Congrats to Coach Williams. He and his players deserved this.

While just about everybody here knows this, Kansas and UNC basketball are forever entwined. For those still upset about Roy's leaving, just remember this. Kansas made UNC what it is today. Kansas is responsible for Kentucky as well. Kansas had James Naismith. Kansas had Phog Allen. Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith are both Kansas natives and alums. It's amazing how quickly the media forgets history, but us Kansas fans should never forget.

It's unfortunate that the red-headed step-children seem to get all of the attention, but I chalk it up to the media and their silly east coast bias. However, I cannot deny the fact that the success of UNC also indirectly reflects on the success of Kansas. In my mind Kansas is the best college basketball school in history. We've pioneered so many things in regards to this sport, including the success of other popular programs.

Rock Chalk! Now go get 'em in 2010!

trader 10 years, 9 months ago

Roy had enough class to wear a KU Jayhawk to last years final game. Enough said.

Head Coach Bill Self has already put together in players all that he needs for HIS winning success basketball strategy.

HCBS has learned over his career what it takes to put together a winning TEAM and a winning COACHING staff. He understands the micro of managing the players and coaches he has once he gets them. That is more important than getting the great players/coaches and mis-managing them.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Roy coached well and the Tar Holes played well. UNC's defense just completely gummed up MSU's weird offense. Raymar got his hands tied.

Ratso Izzo needs to take all the blame for this one for his players. Ratso tried to get up and down the floor with UNC. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Ratso tried to play nice with UNC. Ratso took away all of MSU's strengths even before they hit the floor. Ratso, you're a rat. You should coach like one. Your teams should play like rats. The national finals is not the place to try to change your game. Your players were not thugging.

However, even if MSU had thugged, this game came down to MSU not being able to shoot the ball from the three and its bench not being a 20 point factor as usual.

UNC had too many bodies, too many impact players, and set a pace just fast enough to prevent MSU's ten man team from ever gaining an endurance advantage the last ten minutes.

Advantage: UNC and Roy.

Roy Note: Roy didn't even mention KU after the big win. Can you believe it? :-) This guy wants to bury KU. He wants to leave us in the recruiting dust. And he's doing his darnedest, as he should do. Have you heard? Roy's recruiting the whole country. He's not redlining half the country for KU the way he did for UNC when he coached KU. What a shock! He's a KU guy. How can he not leave half the country's recruits for KU? :-) KU fans have to wake up. Forget how he left KU; that doesn't matter at all. All that matters is the competition for recruits and which program is going to be the more dominant program for the next ten years of Roy's tenure in Tar Hole Ville. The KU brain trust has to begin to develop a grand strategy to compete with Roy, or he is just going to bury everyone in college basketball with his MickeyD monopoly.

Closer: the sound I heard after that UNC win was the sound of the balance of power and of recruiting tipping back and much farther back, in the direction of Chapel Hill. Most of this UNC team is gone. He has a great recruiting class coming in. Like Self, he supposedly has no more rides to give. But like Self, Roy can ask players to give up their rides and pay their ways. UNC has long been the underground railroad for NYC players. I suspect the chances of Lance Stephenson becoming a Tar Hole just spiked. Roy taking Stephenson would be putting his boot heel on the back of the neck of KU in a recruiting war for supremacy.

Competition is just so fierce at this level.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

To add to your point it looks like John Wall is now looking at Chapel Hill as well. If we can get Lance and keep Sherron and Condor, 2010 will be our year, but after that, look out for Carolina!!!

tulsahawkfan 10 years, 9 months ago

Yeah I was pulling for Michigan State but am happy for Roy. Outside of Hansbrough, the NC team is easy to like. We'll be back next year.

Rodney Stice 10 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate,

You are so right about recruiting. Roy shall try to get every great player, and HCBS will have to be just as determined. Pete Carroll at USC does the same crap, he will take every great player available to build his super team and try to destroy all the other teams on gameday. ESPN even talked about this last year when USC was snubbed for the national championship game and OU got in.

I expect that HCBS shall do the same, and I expect many him to have many great teams play and win.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 9 months ago

What's up with all of this apocalyptic paranoia about Roy stealing every recruit in the country? Calm down, people.

Face it, as long as the name Michael Jordan means anything to recruits, UNC is always going to be at or near the top of the recruiting heap. The Tar Heels have always been loaded -- even Matt Doherty pulled in a blue chip class. One more championship does not tilt that balance of power any further, any more than the 2008 title did for KU.

No coach, not even Roy, can keep a roster of more than a few McDonald's recruits happy at one time -- and he doesn't have any history of running players off.

The competition between KU and UNC for recruits is relatively minimal. Kentucky would be a bigger threat to our territory now, anyway, if we were worried about specific programs. But Bill Self does not need "a grand strategy to compete with Roy" or Calipari or anyone else -- he just needs to keep doing what he's doing, and KU will be fine.

kesmithstl1 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't know about everyone else, but are you tired of the "experts" who say NC is the best team of the decade? Didn't KU throttle this same team last year?

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