Like Obama and I(and probably 100 million others) predicted, the North Carolina Tar Heels won the National Championship last night. It really should be no surprise to anyone. UNC was the best team at the start of the season, hit a couple valleys along the way, but turned it on and played to their potential when it counted. UNC proved what we really knew all along, that they simply have too much talent for anyone to compete with for 40 minutes.
First things first, what the hell was Michigan State thinking? Like I said a couple of entries ago, you can't beat UNC when you try to 1) play their high tempo, shoot early in the shot clock style, or 2) have no NBA talent. Michigan State fit both of these criteria to a tee. If I was rooting for them, I would've been pulling my hair out(if I had hair) about their decision to not slow the game down, and take quick shots. I don't know if it was nerves or simply a bad game plan, but UNC looked not only like the more talented team, but also the more poised team from the very beginning. I guess it's no surprise seeing how UNC has so many veterans that have been there before.
Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington were the best backcourt tandem in the tournament this year. Ellington, who has always been my favorite player on UNC, really took over the game early. He could not miss from three or really anywhere on the court in the first half. Ellington has developed his game so much since freshman year, when he was purely a spot up shooter. Lawson, as he has done all tournament, controlled the game from the get go and had a record 7 steals at halftime. Though he didn't have one of his best shooting games, he was still able to control the game, slashing to the basket at will and getting to the free throw line. The big matchup I thought coming into the game was Lawson vs. Kalin Lucas, and it turned out to be a huge factor in the game. Lucas showed his inexperience, looking down right afraid at times. Michigan State also lacked that star player to get the ball to when they needed a basket. They lacked that go to guy that every championship team has, and that UNC has about four of. Ed Davis turned out to be a huge factor in the game as well. Davis is a flat out beast, and I was so glad when I heard he is "definitely coming back next year." He is probably UNC's best NBA prospect, and will be at least 2nd team all ACC next year.
One more note on this game and really the previous three games. It was amazing how Oklahoma, Villanova, and Michigan State all shot so poorly against UNC. After the Oklahoma game I thought well UNC got lucky they didn't hit some of those open shots, but after the same thing happened with Villanova and again with Michigan State I realized that it wasn't about luck. It was that UNC puts so much pressure on the opposition to score, opposing teams feel pressure to knock down every shot. I'd love to hear any comments about this theory from the readers.
It was such a great feeling when that final buzzer sounded. Like any fan of a team, I felt a sense of pride when it hit me that UNC was national champion. I've been really lucky to see, just this decade, 3 Patriots championships, 2 UNC championships, 2 Red Sox championships, and 1 Celtics championship, which for me outweigh all the others. Sports is cyclical, so I know at some point my luck will run out, but I might as well enjoy the ride while I can.
Thanks again everyone for reading my blog. I've gotten some really good feedback, and it seems the readership is up(5 votes already in two days!). Have a great night everyone!