North Carolina won a national championship on the court at Ford Field Monday night, 89-72.
Well, the Tar Heels really won the national championship when Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green walked into coach Roy Williams' office and said they were returning to Chapel Hill. When they decided to pass on the NBA, they set one goal in motion -- cut down the nets in Detroit.
I felt going into the game that Michigan State needed to stay close for the first 5-10 minutes of the game. That would have given the Spartans some confidence. Just like the Villanova game in the national semifinals, the Tar Heels raced out to an early lead. North Carolina was up two touchdowns at 21-7, making the task difficult for Tom Izzo's squad.
I really felt the Spartans started the game shooting the ball too quickly, with questionable shot selection. The early tempo played into North Carolina's hands as the Tar Heels offense was simply too potent.
Michigan State fell behind and did not play Izzo-type basketball. They tried to make up the margin quickly and it did not work.
North Carolina showed it can beat an opponent in so many ways. It could beat you inside, outside, in transition. Wow, this was a special team and a special first-half performance.
The Tar Heels defense was much better than people gave them credit. They bought into Williams' concepts and philosophy and it paid dividends getting to the winner's circle.
Izzo's squad committed 22 turnovers in a 35-point loss back on December 3. Turnovers early hurt Michigan State. North Carolina converted off of those turnovers to get plenty of points in building up a huge early lead.
North Carolina was so efficient on both ends of the court. This is a team with great balance and so many weapons. You saw Deon Thompson come out and contribute early.
It was a great way for Tyler Hansbrough to finish his collegiate career. He moved into the top five among NCAA tournament scorers. The four-time All-American made more free throws than any player in college history. He scored more points than any player in ACC history. He went out in style.
Many stars decide to go to the NBA early. Hansbrough came back to Chapel Hill because he enjoyed college life. He showed great work ethic and he showed why he was a great college star. I don't want to hear that he won't be a good pro ... he could play on my team anytime!
Ellington showed that there is no substitute for great shooting. He enjoyed a terrific tournament.
Lawson was the engine who made the offense go. The Tar Heels were obviously a different team with him in the lineup. His toe injury wasn't a factor in the last five games of the tournament.
In college basketball, there is a simple equation: talent + coaching = championship!
Williams coached in his seventh Final Four, fourth-most of all-time. He became the 13th coach to win two or more national championships.
Think about what North Carolina has done in the last three seasons -- 101 wins and 14 losses. Super, scintillating, sensational, baby!
Let's give some love to Izzo and the Spartans. Their effort gave some life to an area that has had some tough times. Michigan State beat Kansas, Louisville and Connecticut before falling to a great Tar Heels squad.
Congratulations to Williams, Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington, Green and the entire Tar Heels family.
I know there will be some partying on Franklin Street down in Chapel Hill tonight.