In 2004 UNC won the final by beating Iowa 106-92. Iowa was not #8 in the country at the time.
Tyler Hansbrough is back. Ty Lawson is back. Deon Thompson kept it rolling. The result was a sound beating of #8 Notre Dame who only made it close by having Kyle McAlarney shoot threes from anywhere on the court during the final four minutes. For all of McAlarney's 39 points it was what Hansbrough and Lawson did they was most impressive.
Starting with Lawson who had 22 points and 11 assists. Can you ask for a better game out of your PG? Lawson used his speed to get into the lane all night long and unlike some previous games where he missed close shots, he hit all of them. Lawson also distributed the basketball early and often against only one turnover. His A/TO in six games? Try 4.88 which is simply incredible. Lawson earned MVP honors for the tournament.
Tyler Hansbrough shook off the rust and dropped 34 on the Irish. The most impressive part? Hansbrough got most of his points hitting jumpers and even dropped in a three pointer during the first half. Hansbrough use a variety of moves to score and really made a statement with a breakaway dunk late in the 2nd half. Hansbrough and Lawson were also a combined 14-14 from the FT line helping the Heels improve what had been some pedestrian free throw shooting.
Deon Thompson had another outstanding game and showed he has learned well from Hansbrough. Thompson had 16 points but more importantly pulled down 13 rebounds. In short Thompson was a beast and made use of several nice moves to find open shots and hit them. Thompson has arrived as a legitimate weapon on the interior and gives UNC a fifth reliable offensive option if needed. That in itself is scary.
Danny Green and Wayne Ellington had quiet nights though Ellington did hit a pair of threes and was very active on defense. Green cooled off from the first two games of the tourney and was, at times, in the 2nd half trying to do too much with the ball. He will need to settle back into the offensive flow a little more as he was doing against Oregon.
Overall, the Heels made a huge statement in Maui. The ranking is legit, the hype is dead on and we can beat you using any number of weapons on the court. Now go enjoy some turkey.