They started off as the first college basketball team ever to be the unanimous preseason number one in the nation. Four months later that is the way the North Carolina Tar Heels ended the season. The Tar Heels defeated the Michigan State Spartans 89-72 to capture their 5th National Championship, and their 2nd in the last five years.
Last year, the Tar Heels went to the Final Four in San Antonio and got blown out by Kansas 84-66. At one point in the game, the Heels were down 40-12. After that game, there were rumors of four key UNC players would move on to the NBA. Well, after consideration, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green all decided to come back and do what they set out to do at North Carolina. Win a National Championship.
This year, they would not be denied that ring. They rolled through the competition going 34-4 and reaching that National Championship Game. The Final Four was held in Detroit, and what a place to have this event. Detroit is going through a tough time right now, so to have the Final Four in Detroit is special. Making it even more special is seeing a team from Michigan in the National Championship Game.
For Michigan State, the Cinderella run was over as the National Championship Game was a blowout from the start. Tyler Hansbrough scored 18 points, Ellington had 19, and Lawson led all scorers with 21 points. He also set a Final Four record with 8 steals in the game. At one point, the Tar Heels led 36-13 and from that point on Michigan State didn’t get within 13 points.
“Sounds like I made a pretty good decision,” said Hansbrough regarding coming back for his senior year. “Nothing beats this feeling right here.”
The Tar Heels set numerous records in the game. They scored the most points at the half with 55. They were up by 21 points at halftime, which was also a record. They won every tournament game by double-digits, which hadn’t been done since Duke in 2001.
Head coach of the Tar Heels Roy Williams was emotional during the post game press conference.
“Roy Williams is not that good. But boy, ol’ Roy’s got some big time players. That’s what it takes.”
He later talked about Tyler Hansbrough and what he has meant to the University.
“I desperately wanted this championship for that young man. I know it’s corny, but that’s who I am.”
Head Coach Tom Izzo of Michigan State just stated the facts.
“The best team won. That’s an easy statement to make.”
Lawrence Williams, junior on the Marist Basketball team watched the championship game. “That was one of the most dominant performances I have ever seen. A Championship Game is supposed to be competitive, and that game was over from the opening tip. Great overall game by North Carolina.”
Dave Gentile watched the game and had thought North Carolina was just in a different class. ” The whole year we talked about Carolina and how good they actually are. They were the best team all year and proved it Monday night. That was unbelievable. Michigan State never had a shot.”
This game concludes the 2008-09-college basketball season. Here is a review of the 2009 NCAA Tournament called One Shining Moment.