I'm not sure, but I think there is a game on tonight that might mean something to college basketball fans. Tom Izzo and Roy Williams, pictured to the right, will be hoping for a little celebratory libation after the encounter between their respective teams tonight at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Obviously, I don't really want Carolina getting any closer to Kentucky's total victories number, nor do I want them to win their fifth national championship. But I wouldn't mind seeing Michigan State win their third.
Right now, the line for the game is Carolina -8, which I think is about right. Make no mistake, if MSU wins this thing, it will be an upset, although not a particularly big one. Michigan State has certainly saved their best basketball for last, and right now I wouldn't bet against the Spartans if they were taking on the Boston Celtics, and they do have a significant home-court advantage.
But Carolina is the more talented and deeper team, and they have arguably been the best team in college basketball the last two years running, so their hunger is very, very real. Michigan State was expected to be good this year, but I don't think anyone expected them to wind up in the final game. Most people have had UNC penciled into this spot since the day after Hansbrough, Lawson and Co. decided to forego the NBA for one last shot at college glory.
Earlier this year, the Tarheels dismantled the Spartans at Ford Field in a surprisingly under-attended affair, 98-63. UNC put the contest away with fully 10 minutes left in the game, which in the vernacular of our recently departed coach, represents a butt-whipping of epic proportions. In that tilt, Michigan state couldn't defend their own shadow, couldn't shoot it into the ocean from the beach, and turned the ball over at a Kentuckyesque 26.2% rate. On the other hand, Carolina was hitting on all cylinders and dominated the glass.
I expect this game to be different, and much closer. But Ty Lawson has simply dominated opponents this entire year, and if Michigan State can't find a way to contain him, it's hard to figure how they can stop Carolina from getting good shots. I'm sure Tom Izzo knows that, but then again, so has every other coach who has faced the Tarheels, and it hasn't done most of them a bit of good.
I'm opening up this thread early, so chat all you want. If it gets to long, I'll make another one. Enjoy the game (at least, as much as you can while being forced to look at that hideous powder blue) and check out the SB Nation North Carolina blog, Carolina March, for the Tarheel perspective. We don't have a Michigan State blog yet (but we sure are looking for candidates to take that spot!)