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#1 UNC vs #3 Louisville

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What: NCAA Tournament East Regional Final
Where: Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, NC
When: Saturday, March 29th, 9:05 PM
Records: UNC 35-2; Louisville 27-8
NCAA Results: UNC-def. #16 MSM, #9 Arkansas, #4 WSU; Louisville-def. #14 Boise St, #6 Oklahoma, #2 Tennessee

Looking for a ticket to San Antonio

If UNC ends up winning a national title it will be via a very tough road.  Louisville is playing about as well as anyone else right now.  The Cards have the personnel to adequately defend the Heels and score the needed points to win.  The Cardinals have senior David Padgett who is versatile, plays great defense and the very definition of a glue guy.  Surrounding him is a mix of good athletes and solid basketball players who can matchup with UNC and play great defense at every position.  The Cards are well coached and UNC will be under the gun to play focused defense every time down.

All that being said, UNC will go into this game needing to do what they have all season.  The Heels need a balanced offense which means getting singificant scoring from all positions.  Tyler Hansbrough struggling to get it going in the last game usually means a concerted effort on his part to come out early and assert himself.  And along with you want to see Wayne Ellington in particular but also Danny Green off the bench shoot the ball well.  Historically speaking, the nightmare tournament games for UNC usually included cold shooting from the perimeter personnel.  I also think the emergence of Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson has been paramount to the way UNC has played thus far and more of the same might be what it takes to secure the Final Four berth.   Given the way Louisville plays defense, Ty Lawson and Quentin Thomas need sharp, mistake free games to avoid giving the Cards any freebies.

Defensively speaking, Tennessee proved the Cards can be turned over frequently and the Vols were rated as an inferior defense to UNC.  This could end up being the lynch pin to the whole game and that is UNC turning Lousiville over and scoring significant points in transition from those TOs.  This is where a 100% Lawson is so important both in terms of attacking Louisville at the point guard position but moving the ball once the turnovers have been created.

For a year now UNC players and fans have carried on with the Georgetown game planted firmly in our minds.  Now the Heels will face Louisville and try to do what they could not last season.  This team has been on a mission since last summer and I expect that mission to continue in earnest with a win in this game.

UNC 84 UL 73