What: NCAA Tournament National Semifinal
When: Saturday, April 5th, 8:47 PM
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Records: UNC 36-2; Kansas 35-3
NCAA Results: UNC def. #16 Mt. St. Mary’s, #9 Arkansas, #4 Wash St, #3 Louisville; Kansas def. #16 Portland State, #8 UNLV, #12 Villanova, #10 Davidson
Psycho T is coming.
I think that line dropped in the comments section is apt for this game. As much as we can talk about matchups and personnel this is about as even a Final Four as there has been in a longtime. With four #1 seeds and all four showing the capability of winning a title it could very well come down to intangibles and which team has that one player fully capable of willing his team to victory. With due apologies to Memphis Derrick Rose and UCLA’s Kevin Love, Tyler Hansbrough has played like that guy all season and I see no reason to believe it will be any different.
This does not mean that Hansbrough does not need help. UNC will need a full team effort to take down Kansas who plays well at every position and does a great job on defense. Likewise UNC will need a ratcheted up defensive effort to prove the critics and naysayers who believe UNC is not good enough on defense to win the title. In terms of the Heels’ offense, shooters need to hit shots. Hansbrough will likely get his but not having serious offensive production form Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Deon Thompson and Danny Green could mean a quick exit out of San Antonio. The last time UNC lost a game it was because UNC was missing a valuable cog on offense in Ty Lawson with Ellington and Green being defended so well they had a miserable shooting night. Kansas plays defense well enough to make this sort of thing possible again. However I take heart in the fact Deon Thompson has been much better of late and even someone like Alex Stepheson can come in and make a contribution.
Marcus Ginyard could end up being a wildcard of sorts. His defense is an obvious key but he has been quiet on offense save for the fast break buckets and tip-ins. In 2005 Jawad Williams showed up in the 1st half and kept UNC in a game which Michigan State started with some hot shooting. Could Ginyard play that sort of role or will Ellington and Green come out hitting shots to give the offense balance.
UNC has been about as dominant as they ever have been in a NCAA Tournament. This is also a team in which it is difficult to imagine them losing a game. Partly because it has been almost two months since they dropped a game versus anyone and also because no matter what has happened in all the games since then the will to win was undeniable. Folks love to make light of “Tyler Hansbrough’s will” and the hype in the media over his drive and effort on the court. However, we are talking about a player who puts everything on the line to achieve his goal and seemingly will not be denied the things he sets out to achieve.
In my opinion I have no reason to think that drive and determination will fail to bring UNC a title and it starts against Kansas.
UNC 78 Kansas 74