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UNC 81, Michigan State 67

First of all, the sooner UCLA loses and I'm released from my local CBS affiliate's broadcast of the Bruin hegemony, the better. I'm getting tired of watching the Heels in small, stuttering internet video.

On a day when too many high seeds were pushed to overtime or nearly upset, a fourteen point win looks pretty good, but that was a hell of a lot more nerve-wracking than the final margin suggests. UNC couldn't find an outside shooting rhythm until the closing minutes, after the tempo had exhausted the Michigan State perimeter defense. The Spartans for a stretch seemed to run backdoor cuts on the Heels with impunity, a strategy that coupled with Neitzel's perimeter shooting gave Michigan State the lead as late as seven minutes remaining. But then the inevitable fatigue set in, and Carolina closed the game on a 23-8 run.

I suppose "keep it close until the other team drops from exhaustion, then run with it," is a sound enough basketball strategy for this team, and I feel like a putz criticizing it, but it's a nerve-wracking style to have to watch. Keeping an extending a lead over forty minutes would be much better for my blood pressure. But with Hansbrough now surpassing pre-mask levels of play (of the 33 points and nine rebounds I'm still most impressed by the dunks he gets on fast breaks) and the low-turnover, high-velocity Lawson performances that began appearing regularly in the ACC tournament, this is a tough team to beat out in the end. Perhaps I should hold my tongue and enjoy the ride.

The money quote on the game though comes from Big Ten Wonk:

Watching Carolina is like hitting the "X2" button on your DVR during a Wisconsin game

(There's more there about both teams' fanatical use of points in the paint, but that line just tickles me for some reason.)