In what seemed to be a matter of minutes, the 2009 NCAA basketball championship game was over.
UNC didn’t hesitate. They reacted.
And they did it to perfection. You can’t often say that when you’re playing in front of 65,000+ rabid Michigan State fans in Detroit’s Ford Field. But UNC could.
When the final horn sounded, UNC beat Michigan St. 89-72, winning their fifth national championship putting them behind only Kentucky (7) and UCLA (11). That’s quite a feat and UNC did it with leadership and balance.
UNC was revered at the beginning of the season to be the eventual national champion. However, after two losses, the media and everyone else looked to other teams. UCONN, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Memphis, Oklahoma, Gonzaga all filled the void left by UNC. Flying under the radar for the rest of the season, they finally sit on the mountain top with their victory last night (my pick in Dec. 4th article I Know…I Know. It’s Early).
For someone who I entirely despised during his four years in college, Tyler Hansbrough meant everything he said in the post-game press conference. He expressed utmost appreciation for himself, his teammates, coach and fans when he made mention of his decision to come back for his senior season. He stuck it out for four years at UNC when people told him he wasn’t good enough. It was only his energy and hustle that got him to where he was. At this point, he could probably care less.
His decision to return for his senior season was perfect, working out perfectly. A four time All-American, four time All-ACC team, National Player of the year are all accolades that he had earned. But a National Championship was never in the mix, until last night. After four long years of waiting, he can now finally add that accolade to his collection.
As a whole, UNC was just the better team against Michigan State. But how could we, as fans every question their dominance?
They were the best team all season. Despite the injuries to important players on the team; Marcus Ginyard and freshman Tyler Zeller, UNC continued to chug along. Then came tournament time, a time that mattered most in the eyes of Tyler Hansbrough and coach Roy Williams. They didn’t just chug along in the tournament, they steam-rolled their opponents. A great sight to see for a UNC fan, but not so much for college basketball fans.
Congratulations to UNC fans for winning their second title since 2005, but your team made for one of the worst national championship games I have ever seen.