I have had three hours sleep and I have about 50,000 thoughts running around my head so this is liable to be all over the map.
- It became crystal clear about five minutes into the game that UNC was operating under the "don't let Kansas happen again" mentality. In both Final Four games, the Heels came out guns ablazing and ready to bury Villanova and Michigan St from the very start. At one point UNC was up 34-11 and it dawned on me: The Heels were doing to MSU what Kansas had done to them. Talk about coming full circle. The 55 points in the first half was a NCAA Championship game record as was the 21 point halftime lead.
- The 2nd half was ragged. The Heels went into clock killing mode from the opening possession of that half for two reasons: First, I think Roy wanted to take care of the basketball and secondly, I also think Roy did not want to embarrass Tom Izzo. The problem was, UNC missed way too many shots, some of them easy ones and it afforded MSU some hope they could chip away. Ultimately it was too big of a mountain to climb.
- The Heels played incredible defense, especially in the final four games of the tournament. It seemed like every perimeter shot was contested or covered. I saw fewer and fewer times where Bobby Frasor had to run out and fly at a three point shooter because they left them open. MSU hit some threes but many of them were contested. The much maligned defense showed up in the NCAA Tournament.
- Ty Lawson cemented his legacy as perhaps the greatest point guard in UNC history. That can certainly be debated but what cannot be is his five game run in the tournament is hands down the best ever by a Tar Heel floor general. Lawson ran Roy Williams' offense to perfection. He dished the basketball, drove to the hoop, hit thee pointers and played some incredible defense at times. His eight steals against Michigan State broke the record for a NCAA title game and tied the overall single game tournament record.
- Wayne Ellington became Donald Williams. I really can stop there and say no more because those of use who watched the 1993 title run unfold know how huge Williams was during that span. Like Williams, Ellington was named the MOP in the Final Four thought I strong argument can be made for Lawson to at least share the award if not win it outright. Ellington in six games shot 17-32 from three point range including 8-10 in the Final Four. What was even more impressive is Ellington became an all around scorer creating his own shot, getting to the basket and generall becoming a nightmare to guard. Against LSU and MSU, Ellington lit up two players who were considered the best defenders in the country. LSU's Garrett Temple was an SEC All-Defensive team player and MSU's Travis Walton was the Big Ten DPOY. It did not matter. Anyone guarding Ellington was burned more often than the folks jumping over bonfires on Franklin St last night.
- In the end it seems as though Tyler Hansbrough simply meshed into the offense. For so long he had been a dominant part of it but during this tournament run, Hansbrough forced his shot less and made a concious effort to get his teammates involved. The focus was still on him but in many ways he became just one of five different ways UNC could kill an opposing team instead of the only way.
- Roy Williams deserves huge truckloads of credit for this title. Since 2005, critics have proclaimed that Roy had not won a title with his own players. It was hogwash but not only has Roy proven them wrong but done so in what can described as a four year coaching job. In 2006 Roy Williams had to start over with David Noel and the current senior class. He then had to go out a recruit the current junior class, mesh the working parts together and build the team into a title contender. Granted he got some help with Lawson, Ellington and Green decided to come back but even then he is managing a team under enormous pressure to win it all or face the season being deemed a failure. Throw in there the injuries, which Roy spoke of last night and how much stress it put him under for fear of pushing Hansbrough or Lawson one drill too many and damaging their NBA prospects with a severe injury. Roy dealt with the 0-2 ACC start by telling the team in locker room at Wake Forest that they would be just fine. He had some tough moments with the media and the fans but in the end, he won his 2nd NCAA title and proving that he could win the big one, with his own players, doing it his way. When asked how it felt to be tied with Dean Smith, Roy simply said he did not belong in the same sentence as Dean Smith.
- UNC now assume it's place as the premier basketball program in the country. In a matter of six years back in Chapel Hill Roy Williams has taken the program from the brink of imploding to three Final Fours and two national titles. According to Jones Angel last night, UNC is 101-14 in the past three seasons. Wow. The senior class graduates with a record of 124-22. We are living in a golden era of Carolina basketball one that rivals the 1991-1998 stretch in Dean's final seasons and Bill Guthridge's first.