They did it. This team did what they were supposed to do all season. Anything less for a team this talented would have been a failure. They had the targets on their backs all season and they all knew it. Roy Williams knew it. That’s why they were so well prepared and never looked past an opponent. Tyler Hansbrough knew it. That’s why he took on the leadership role and relished it, and in doing so, solidified his status as one of the greatest college athletes of all time. Wayne Ellington (Mr. M.O.P) and Ty Lawson (my M.O.P.) knew it too. That’s why they put this team on their backs and played out of their heads down the stretch. And let’s not forget the contributions of Danny Green (Senior), Deon Thompson (Junior) and Ed Davis (Freshman) throughout the tournament.
I’ve been a Carolina fan for as long as I can remember. I was born in 1982 when that team, led by James Worthy, Sam Perkins and some dude named Michael (not sure how you pronounce that) Jordan, won the second national championship in school history. I was visiting my grandparents in North Carolina when Webber called the timeout in 1993. I was going bonkers at a bar when they beat Illinois in 2005 with outstanding performances from Sean May and Rashad McCants. I even shed a tear that night. But last night was as sweet, if not sweeter, than all the rest. I wasn’t nervous (mostly because they were up by like 15 after the first five minutes) or worried that they might come out flat. This team was on a mission plain and simple. Beautiful basketball the entire tournament. I just sat on my couch with a huge smile on my face. It’s been far too long since the Atlanta Braves have made it to the promised land. The Titans and Predators haven’t been there yet. And Auburn got screwed out of their last two undefeated seasons because of probation from a previous administration (1993) and the shitstorm we know as the BCS (2004). The Tarheels are about all I’ve got in this department, so I enjoy each one of them as if they’ll never come again. That is, until the Titans win it all next season…
I’ve been thinking about my “starting five” favorites of all time, and it’s almost too hard after getting to know this team (I know how stupid that sounded as I wrote it). I loooove Lawson and Green’s game, Ellington has one of the prettiest J’s I’ve ever seen (it’s like a moonshot) and Hansbrough is not only one of the greatest Tarheels of all time, he’s one of the greatest players in the history of college basketball (I emphasize college for all you “Psycho T” haters out there). Maybe I’ll do like a top ten or something at some point. And yes, Dante Calabria will likely make an appearance.
Congrats to Tom Izzo and Michigan State as well. Those kids played far beyond what anyone expected of them. The way that the media cast them as the “saviors of Detroit” was kinda crappy if you ask me. Sure it was a nice story and would have been great for the city and state if they had won, but that’s seems a little unfair to do to a college athlete (any athlete really). Plus, it’s not like Detroit wouldn’t go right back to sucking as soon as the party was over.
Well done Tarheels. Hopefully it’s just Ellington and Lawson that jump ship and you can re-tool with another stellar recruiting class for next year. Enjoy this one for now Tarheels fans, cause you never know when they’ll get the next one. Off to pick up my fly new national championship shirt… Holler!
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