Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Boy, this game was practically over before it started.
The only thing Michigan St. had going for them was the home crowd, and North Carolina took them out of the game early and often.
With 13:30 left in the first half, the Tar Heels had jumped out to a 24-8 lead! Carolina was shooting 60% and had created 7 turnovers.
Sparty was unable to find any transition game due to Carolina's excellent shooting.
And honestly, have you ever seen anyone run the floor better than Ty Lawson? The guy was straight up sick, not only running the offense but swiping 7 steals in the first half. And of course Lawson ended up with 8 steals for the game, a tournament record.
Lawson's play brought back memories of Michigan St.'s Mateen Cleaves and UConn's Khalid El-Amin.
North Carolina led 55-34 at half, the largest halftime lead ever in a championship game. We hadn't seen such a dominant performance in a championship game since the 1990 UNLV Running Rebels.
Whether it was stage fright or what Tom Izzo called "deer in headlights," Michigan State just could not get anything going-the turnovers, missed front ends of one and ones and poor shooting. The Spartans just couldn't make a run in the second half. North Carolina left the door open a small crack as the Tar Heels shot poorly in the second half.
Michigan St. shot just 30.4% from behind the 3 point line, compared to 41.7% for the Tar Heels.
You have to give Tom Izzo and Michigan St. props. This team overachieved throughout the tournament and was very fortunate to beat Kansas in the third round.
In the end, it was North Carolina cruising to a 89-72 victory for the school's 5th National Title. Carolina cruised through the tournament winning every game by double digits.
And another Big 10 team got slaughtered again on the big stage.