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As for that 98-63 beatdown Carolina put on Michigan State in this same building back on Dec. 3? No fluke. In fact, Detroit might want to give Ford Field a nice, long break. The winless Lions went 0-8 here last season, and there was no halt to the Motor City's misery on this night.
It was, almost literally, over before it began. Ellington had a double-pump scoop layup and a 3-pointer and Hansbrough spotted up and sank a 14-foot jumper -- all in the first 4:25 to put Carolina ahead 17-7. It never got closer.
The Spartans, meanwhile, were having trouble simply getting the ball in after Tar Heel buckets, turning it over that way twice in the first 6 minutes, part of a depressing day that didn't do justice to the effort they put in to get here.
During pregame introductions, Williams walked over to shake hands with Izzo, who was distracted, drawing up a play on the greaseboard in the huddle. He jokingly showed the diagram to Williams -- and you know what: It probably wouldn't have mattered.
Izzo conceded in the lead-up to the game that if both teams played their best, Michigan State would lose. He'll never find out if he was right because, while North Carolina was more than ready, the Spartans never showed up.
"The best team won," Izzo said. "That's an easy statement to make."
Williams joined Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan and Mike Krzyzewski as the fourth active coach (13th overall) to win multiple titles.
This title came four years after his first championship -- and for the first time, with a roster full of his own recruits.
"Roy Williams is not that good," Williams said. "But boy, ol' Roy's got some big-time players. That's what it takes."
Hansbrough was the only one who knew he wanted to come back from the get-go. He simply loves college, and though his senior season wasn't quite as good as the year before, the ending was much better. Nobody on Michigan State could stop him -- no shame there -- and he had seven rebounds and two assists to go with the 18 points.
"I desperately wanted this championship for that young man," Williams said. "I know it's corny, but that's who I am."
Lawson was often criticized for not looking to shoot enough, and he sort of went back to his roots in this one. He finished only 3-for-10 from the floor but was a dominating presence, with six assists and a whopping 18 trips to the free-throw line.
Oh, and don't forget Ed Davis. We'll be seeing the 6-10 freshman in the pros with these other guys someday soon. He went 5-for-7 for 11 points with eight rebounds in 14 minutes and may have proven all he needs to, as well.
Overall, North Carolina dominated every matchup on the floor in pretty much every way. The Tar Heels were a unanimous No. 1 in the preseason and became the first UNC team to start and finish at No. 1 since 1982.
Michael Jordan was the star of that team.
There may not be any Jordans on this team, but there were plenty of Hansbroughs and Lawsons and Ellingtons -- more than enough to finish off a project that seemed destined to end the way it did: on a ladder in Detroit, with scissors and twine in their hands.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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