Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
When: Sunday, March 29th, 5:05 PM
TV: CBS or MMOD
Livestats: SCACC Hoops
Records: UNC 31-4, Oklahoma 30-5
NCAA Results: UNC-def. Radford, LSU, Gonzaga; OU-def. Morgan St., Michigan, Syracuse
Here is what happened the last time UNC met Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament.
That was 1990 when UNC was in the midst of one of the worse seasons in the modern Dean Smith era. If memory serves, that version of Oklahoma was seen much the same way this season's version is. Yes they were a #1 seed and #1 in the nation at the time but not many were convinced they were a strong team. The same could be said about the Sooners this season and there is merit to the argument until you consider that Oklahoma not UNC played in a conference that put three teams in the Sweet Sixteen and two into the Elite Eight. Speaking for myself, I think I may have been incorrect to view Oklahoma in such an unfavorable light given the present evidence.
All that being said and setting aside the Tyler Hansbrough vs Blake Griffin matchup everyone wants to discuss let me just say, if the Tar Heel team that showed up on Friday night, the Heels will be heading for Detroit come next week. It is really that simple. As for the Hansbrough-Griffin matchup, Hansbrough himself says the team is the priority and he will look to do his part to help the team win. Bobby Frasor has indicated that Hansbrough is being diplomatic and wants to prove something. Whatever the case, I do not expect Hansbrough to not get caught up in a individual war with Griffin. UNC is at their best when all the cylinders are firing and that starts with Ty Lawson,
In the Saturday media availabiliy, Lawson indicated the toe was in good shape and if he had said anything else people who saw him play versus Gonzaga would have called him a liar. What Lawson does will determine how well this game goes for UNC. Against Gonzaga, Lawson came out and took immediate control of the game opening up the scoring for UNC by hitting two threes and dishing out a pair of assists. Lawson got the motor running and if he does that again, it will bode well for UNC.
Worries? There always are. A cold streak for Wayne Ellington is one concern thought it is hard to imagine Ellington won't keep doing what he has been doing. Danny Green could relapse but against Gonzaga he looked like he got his groove back. The Heels need more productivity from Deon Thompson and Ed Davis at the four, though I think Davis ends up playing a huge role on defense in this one. Besides the free throw shooting, my only other worry is some sort of ridiculous shooting night from the Sooner guards if UNC opts for the double team on Blake Griffin.
In the end I expect UNC's experience, superior firepower and an advantage in the head coaches chair to punch the Heels' ticker to a 2nd straight Final Four.
UNC 87 OK 75