Heels, Spartans find themselves in more than game Print
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 05 April 2009 11:39
NCAAB Headline News

 DETROIT (AP) -The bracket says North Carolina vs. Michigan State.
At times, though, the Tar Heels may feel like they're going up against something more than just another basketball team.
From the coach on down, the Spartans (31-6) know a win in the NCAA title game on a court 90 miles from their campus won't fix the state's economic freefall, won't put anybody back to work. But there will be 72,000 people in Ford Field, site of the Final Four, come Monday night. Most will be rooting for Michigan State.
And winning, as they say, can be contagious.
``When you go through hard times, you pray for something to get you out,'' Spartans guard Travis Walton said. ``I'm sure they didn't pray for Michigan State to get to the Final Four or the national championship game, but they probably have been praying to have things to take their mind off of it.''
Michigan ranks 51st out of 50 states (and District of Columbia) in the latest unemployment figures. Detroit is the hub of an auto industry on life support, a civic symbol of an economic system that has come off the tracks.
ckdrop for a game in which Michigan State finds itself a 7 1/2-point underdog against a Carolina team that has ``national champs'' practically inked across its uniforms.
Remember, this is the team that some thought could go undefeated this season when Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all decided to return after a bad loss to Kansas at last year's Final Four.
Undefeated was never on coach Roy Williams' list of goals. Winning a championship, though? Always.
``If you thought it was easy, you don't know what you're talking about,'' Williams said. ``It's college basketball. There hasn't been an undefeated team since '76, and there have been some really, really good teams. I think this year there were eight or 10 teams or 12, I haven't studied it, that could be playing Monday night.''
But it will be North Carolina (33-4), the preseason No. 1 and top seed in the South Regional, against Michigan State, a less-hyped and more overlooked No. 2 seed out of the Midwest.
Though Michigan State coach Tom Izzo won't sell his team short - ``you don't get this far on grit,'' he said - he also knows the deal. This is a rematch of a game North Carolina won 98-63 on Dec. 3 in the same building. Anyone who turned the channel, or turned the page, on that one gets a pass. Izzo certainly has.
von Roe was hurting) and not playing near its current level back then, though the coach figures if the Spartans had been in better shape, they still would have lost by 20.
``If we play good and they play good, we're losing. That's the way I look at it,'' Izzo said. ``I mean, I don't look at that in the negative. They are the best team in the country and have earned that ranking probably over the last year and a half.''
And, as both coaches acknowledge, the Spartans have a knack for taking opponents out of their 'A' game. See Michigan State's 82-73 win over Connecticut on Saturday.
``I mean, they're not exactly Charlie's Donut Team,'' Williams said.
Williams figures if North Carolina plays poorly in the rematch, it won't be because of the crowd.
This is a team that loves playing in hostile environments and succeeds at it, too.
The Tar Heels have gone 67-14 away from home in the four years since Hansbrough and the seniors arrived in 2005, the season after Carolina's last championship. Hansbrough has never lost to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He's 5-2 in other road games in the state of North Carolina, 3-0 in Maui, 6-0 in Florida and, yes, 1-0 at Ford Field.
``I've tried to forget that whole week,'' Izzo said. ``In fact, if you ask me, 2008 never happened. I'm trying to move ahead to 2009.''
r of the year, and steadily improving Raymar Morgan (18 points, nine rebounds in the win over Connecticut on Saturday), the Spartans are trying to close out 2009 with a flourish.
The game comes 30 years after Magic Johnson led MSU to its first championship in that historic meeting against Indiana State and Larry Bird. Like North Carolina, Michigan State is also going for its second title of the 2000s.
Mateen Cleaves led the 2000 title team. Though Izzo has been back to the Final Four three times since - for a total of five in 11 years - the Spartans haven't won another championship.
Getting this group a title is the real mission that concerns the coach.
``I mean, the state, this city, is very important to me,'' he said. ``But the cause right now is for the Michigan State players to win a championship, and hopefully the repercussions from that will help a lot of people. It's a feel-good for a lot of people.''
Williams, meanwhile, said he hasn't had time to discuss the country's economic situation since the Tar Heels beat Villanova 83-69 late Saturday night. It's simply not part of the scouting report.
``I do realize they have a cause. Well, we also have a cause, too,'' he said. ``We want to win a national championship, period, the end. And if you would tell me that if Michigan State wins, it's gonna satisfy the nation's economy, then I'd say, 'Hell, let's stay poor for a little while longer.'''

NCAABB Team Pages

Top NCAABB Public Bets

View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NCAABB Futures

DUKE 10/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com