North Carolina Tar Heels (34-4) 89, Michigan State Spartans (31-7) 72
Two teams met on the court Monday night, but one, the North Carolina Tar Heels, was clearly superior.
North Carolina rolled out to a 17-7 lead, hitting 6 of their first seven shots including 2 3-pointers and 3 of 4 free throws. Then, the Tar Heels went on a 6-1 run to lead 24-8, and expanded on that, leading by 20 or more for most of the first half. North Carolina's 55-34 lead at the break was the largest lead and highest first half point total in a championship game.
Michigan State could just not stay with the kids from the Carolinas. Wayne Ellington scored 17 first-half points, on 7 of 9 shooting, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts. Carolina was 15 of 19 from the charity stripe. In the first half, Ty Lawson tied the championship game record of 7 steals for a full game. The rout was on, and only a miracle could keep prevent the Tar Heels from their fifth national championship, and the Spartans were all out of those.
Having beaten two #1 seeds already, they found the third time more harmful than charming, as the Tar Heels maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way. The spartans cut it to 13 points with under five minutes to play, but their 21 turnovers really hut them and they could not match North Carolina's size, speed and play in the paint, where the Heels were just plain kickin' it.
Ty Lawson, who set a new NCAA championship game record with 8 steals, led all scorers with 21 points, followed by Ellington's 19 and 18 by Tyler Hansbrough.
Ed Davis and Deon Thompson chipped in 11 and 9, respectively. For coach Roy Williams, his second national championship in six years at North Carolina was a testament to his outstanding coaching ability.
The Tar Heels were widely believed the team to beat even before the season began, and that prognosis proved true. North Carolina won the championship game by nearly the average margin they had won their first five tournament games, 21 points, showing that they were not only championship quality but truly among the elite teams of all time. Truly, throughout the 6 games, they were never really tested, except in the second round, when they were down by 1 to LSU with 5 minutes left, but won that game by 12.
They may have won the title in the city of Detroit, but nothing could be finer than to be from Carolina this time.