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Apr 7 – One for the Thumb: North Carolina Overpowers MSU 89-72

Take 5th National Title in Front of Largest Crowd Ever

ncaa-final-four-2009(Detroit, MI) – The North Carolina Tar Heels worked their strategy to perfection:  take the Michigan-partisan crowd out of the game early.  With only 6 minutes into the game the Tar Heels had a 20-point lead over the stunned MSU Spartans and the crowd was silent.   For the next 34 minutes the lead never really changed that much and North Carolina had it’s 5th national championship.

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.

“I think if we played as well as we did the last couple games, at least it’s a game,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “The only thing I feel bad for is that it was the biggest crowd to ever see a college basketball game and it wasn’t much of a game.”

The crowd of 72,922 at Ford Field, most wearing Michigan State colors, watched the Tar Heels (34-4) go 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.

Tyler and Ty Were Just Too Much for MSU

Tyler and Ty Were Just Too Much for MSU

It was, almost literally, over before it began.   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.

Michigan State pulled within 13 a couple times late in the second half, and the crowd tried to make some noise.

NC Coach Roy 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.”

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.

This is the best way to go out. I couldn’t picture it any other way,” Hansbrough said, choking up, a few minutes after he rushed to grab that first hot-off-the-iron T-shirt.

He scored 18 points, Wayne Ellington had 19 and Ty Lawson finished with 21 points and a record eight steals. Now, they and Danny Green can all head to the NBA feeling good about their decision to return to school.

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