North Carolina Tar Heels (33-4) vs. Michigan State Spartans (31-6)
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.
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.
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
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.
Brian Landman, Times staff writer