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College basketball preview: NCAA Tournament championship game

North Carolina Tar Heels (33-4) vs. Michigan State Spartans (31-6)

Backcourt

UNC: PG Ty Lawson, right, the ACC player of the year and the South Region's most outstanding player, continues to dazzle, as does G Wayne Ellington. The juniors are averaging 20.8 and 19.2 points, respectively, in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State: Sophomore PG Kalin Lucas, the Big Ten player of the year, plays with uncommon poise, and senior Travis Walton, a heady passer, is the Big Ten's top defender and helps set a tone defensively.

Edge: UNC

Frontcourt

UNC: Tyler Hansbrough, a first-team All-American the past three years and the 2008 consensus national player of the year, can punctuate his brilliant career with a title. Senior Danny Green has hit 9 of 19 3-pointers in his past three games, and sophomore Deon Thompson has been a solid role player.

Michigan State: Center Goran Suton, right, who led the Big Ten in rebounding, is coming off a subpar game (4 points, 7 rebounds) but is still averaging 12.2 points and 10.6 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament. Junior Raymar Morgan broke out of a slump with a monstrous game against UConn (18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals), and freshman Delvon Roe is a tenacious rebounder and defender.

Edge: UNC

Bench

UNC: Freshman forward Ed Davis had 5 rebounds and 5 points against Villanova. Those were the only points off the bench for the Tar Heels. Senior guard Bobby Frasor did add seven rebounds.

Michigan State: Sophomore guards Durrell Summers and Chris Allen, freshman guard Korie Lucious and freshman forward Draymond Green combined for 31 points as its bench outscored UConn's 33-7.

Edge: Michigan State

Coach

UNC: Roy Williams shed the label that he couldn't win the big one when the Tar Heels cut down the nets in 2005. He looks for a second title tonight.

Michigan State: Tom Izzo led his team to the 2000 title (against Florida) and is a master motivator.

Edge: Even

Brian Landman, Times staff writer

College basketball preview: NCAA Tournament championship game 04/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 5, 2009 11:07pm]
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