Monday's UNC Links

Today's Carolina links from around the 'net .......

Carolina Basketball

A team that occupied the ACC cellar in January can finish atop all of college basketball today. North Carolina will play for the NCAA championship, the title that has been in its sights for more than a year. Michigan State, a team that North Carolina beat in December, will be the opponent at Ford Field about 9:21 p.m.
Taking Center Stage: Heels, Spartans are focusing on just one thing: title
The Winston Salem Journal

North Carolina's four seniors started the process of bowing out after a long ride yesterday afternoon when they had the last practice of their college careers. Today they will have their last pregame shootaround and last pregame meal. And then Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor and Winston-Salem's Mike Copeland will play the last game of their college careers against Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament championship game at Ford Field.
End Is Near: UNC seniors seek fantastic finish
The Winston-Salem Journal

On opening day of the NCAA Tournament, every player talks hopefully about his dream. On the eve of the championship game, every player talks passionately about his dream. There are players, and then there is North Carolina's Ty Lawson. There are dreamers, and then there is Ty Lawson.
Reality Check: Lawson living out his dream
The Winston-Salem Journal

The Tar Heels (33-4), who are gunning for their fifth NCAA title (and second in five seasons) always expected to be here. That was a motivating factor as to why seniors Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green, as well as juniors Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, chose to put off the NBA for another year.
UNC goes ater fifth NCAA title
The News and Observer

North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson started dreaming about a national championship when he was speeding toward a 4-foot Fisher Price goal as a kid in Maryland. Forward Tyler Hansbrough started thinking about winning the NCAA title in his backyard in Missouri, while practicing on an 8-foot hoop. Tonight, the Tar Heels will try to do it for real -- on a rim reaching 10 feet, in a stadium that holds more than 72,000 people -- when they play Michigan State at Ford Field. Tipoff is 9:21.
For Heels, the dream is now
The News and Observer

You could see it in Tyler Hansbrough's eyes late Saturday night. You know, those always intense, always focused, wider-than-the-Detroit River eyes? Only now, after North Carolina's 83-69 Final Four beatdown of Villanova, Hansbrough's trademarked stare had a new glint to it. Finally, he had a formal invitation to college basketball's national championship game and he was more than ready to RSVP.
Hansbrough, Heels trying to go out on top
The Fayetteville Observer

North Carolina can play dumb, ignore what December seemed to have illustrated in painstaking detail and pretend there isn't a gulf between the Tar Heels and Michigan State.
Roy working hard to keep his Heels humble
The Durham Herald-Sun

First, we should honestly appreciate the burden carried by the team in green Monday night. Talk about Final Four pressure, the Michigan State Spartans are being asked to atone for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Wall Street and Washington. A compelling plot twist, isn't it, how a gaggle of collegians is brightening the lives of laid-off assembly line workers and struggling shopkeepers? But just a second. Won't the guys in white be playing for something, too? That might be overlooked, amid the Spartans' love-in going on at Ford Field.
Tar Heels aim to write their own feel-good story
The USA Today

North Carolina's Danny Green wants badly to win Monday night when the Tar Heels face Michigan State in the national championship game, but this Final Four already has been a triumph. The junior from North Babylon, L.I., can finally look into the stands and see his father looking back. "For him to be here makes the special even more so," Green said. "This is something I've wanted. It's really rewarding to have it finally happen."
Tar Heels' Danny Green driven by dad
The New York Daily News

No chance. That was the prevailing opinion then, way back before Michigan State discovered how good it could be and became the nitty-gritty green band that's wowing everyone. It had no chance then, not against North Carolina at Ford Field in a Dec. 3 game considered by some a Final Four preview. That notion looked like a joke about the time the Tar Heels rolled to a 14-point halftime lead en route to a 98-63 victory, on their way to consideration as one of the best teams in recent college basketball annals. Everything has changed now, in case you haven't noticed. The Spartans are better and healthier and much more equipped to scrap with the mighty Tar Heels in the national championship tonight at Ford Field.
Underdog Spartans hungry for upset of talented North Carolina Tar Heels
The Detroit News

Even their analysis is fast. Asked to describe Ty Lawson in a word, his Michigan State counterpart, Kalin Lucas, replies, "Quickness." Asked to do the same about Lucas, North Carolina's point guard answers, "Speed." But go ahead and blink tonight. Even at top speed, Lucas, a 6-foot sophomore, and Lawson, a 5-11 junior, will be hard to miss in tonight's national championship. Because for all the talk of Michigan State's cause and North Carolina's effect in this clash of college basketball cultures, there is one constant in this game: the importance of the point guard.
It's match point in Detroit
The Detroit News

How can Michigan State win? We know they can. We don't know if they will -- this is not a prediction. This is how they can win. Here are four reasons to believe.
The Spartans are underdogs, but does that mean they don't have a chance?
The Detroit Free Press

When Michigan State was whipped by North Carolina on Dec. 3, it seemed the Spartans offered very little that night. Maybe to outsiders, but the Tar Heels benefited by more than the scoreboard. "We actually took one of their plays," UNC point guard Ty Lawson said Sunday. "They have a nice couple of plays that they have on their team."
Tar Heels take a page out of the Spartan playbook
The Detroit Free Press

The dizzying ride to tonight's matchup between MSU (31-6) and North Carolina (33-4) in the NCAA Tournament final at Ford Field has been about a group of talented players recovering from a series of detours and taking collective control of the wheel.
No. 1 challenge
The Lansing State-Journal

To the generation who grew up on Spike Lee's Nike commercials, it must be the shoes. No, Phil Jackson describes, it was the hands. No, James Worthy adds, it was the drive. It was all of the above, making Michael Jordan the transcendent basketball player of this, and possibly any, generation. Jordan is expected to become a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when the class of 2009 is revealed today (www.hoops He would be enshrined Sept. 11 in Springfield, Mass.
Jordan thrived on intense drive
The News and Observer

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