Monday, April 6, 2009

Title Game Live-Blog

Yup, it is here. The national title game. And once again, BIAH will be in attendance.

One of the most interesting things about today has been how quiet the city has felt. The last two days, there were people everywhere, decked out in Green and different shades of blue. But today, nothing. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the dismal weather outside, but you would think that a city whose team is about to win a title would be a little bit more enthused.

As I wrote that, the sun has begun to peek through the clouds and a group of four guys wearing Go Green shirts walked by outside my hotel. Through the glass, I could hear them chanting "Go Green, Go White".

Maybe I spoke too soon.

One thing that can't be stressed enough is that this is the perfect storm, so to speak, of title game storylines. You have Michigan State, the team that has been slept on all season. The "little guys", playing for a city and a state that the economy has left in a heap and who have already beaten Big East beasts Louisville and UConn, will be taking on the best team - the most talented team - in the country in UNC. Add to that that the game is going to be played in Detroit in front of 72,000 fans (probably 50,000 of which will be wearing green), and you get one of the most intruiging finals in recent memory.

Did I mention that they have already played this season, with the juggernaut beating the underdog by 35?

As always, follow along after the jump.

- The last six minutes of this game has had absolutely no pace and has been extremely boring to watch, especially since the game has not been in doubt. Let's get this over with.

Izzo is now emptying his bench. Congratulation Tar Heels.

- You cannot stop Ty Lawson. You just can't. Twice tonight he has split two defenders with a behind the back dribble. One ended in a lay-up, and the other ended with a gorgeous no-look pass through traffic to Hansbrough for a lay-up. As good as T is, the difference tonight (all season long as well) has been Lawson.

- State fans are already filing out. Too soon, as they have the lead down to 15 points. UNC needs to stop putting the Spartans on the line.

- UNC might have just put the seal in this game. They have pushed the lead back to 19 points with under eight minutes left.

Do they show One Shining Moment here?

- MSU has gotten it down to 16. The biggest reason is that they are finally attacking offensively, especially in transition. They have reallÝ started to get out and run the floor.

- Lawson has set the record for steals in a title game tonight with eight.

- MSU is trying to make a run, but another steal on an outlet pass puts a damper on that push. MSU hasn't been closer than 18 in a very long time.

- More important than the score, more important than UNC's shooting percentage, the biggest stat of this game is that MSU has 14 turnovers. When a team puts up 55 points in a half on you, you can't waste possessions like that.

- So far tonight they have honored Magic, Bird, Stockton, David Robinson, and Jordan at center court. Imagine having those five on a team.

- UNC is just better than Michigan State. They don't have a weakness. There is nothing for Izzo to exploit. For example, against UConn Izzo could make it a fast paced game, and take out the Thabeet effect. With the Heels, you can't do that.

- 55 points is a record for points in a half in a title game.

- MSU is starting to heat up offensively, but they need to start getting stops. Everytime they cut it to 18, UNC answers with a bucket.

- Here is what UNC does. They get a lead on you by pushing the ball and getting points in transition. When they build up the lead, they then start to slow it down a bit. But their half court offense is so efficient that they can score just about every time they have the ball. There is nothing more demoralizing than playing 25 seconds of good defense before giving up a bucket.

- MSU has finally woken up a bit, as Lucas is getting more aggressive. But it is too little too late. They were down 23 when they woke up.

- MSU needs to take better shots on the offensive end. They are forcing so many tough threes. Lucas has been an complete non factor. I don't think he has even shots.

- UNC's MO of late has been to jump out big leads early. They have done it again, getting up 13 at the under 12 timeout. Sparty needs to start slowing down Lawson, which is proving impossible. A good analogy for Lawson's style is that he is a north-south running back. He doesn't dance around, he doesn't play with the ball by crossing over and putting it between his legs a bunch. When he sees space, he attacks it. And since he is so quick, defenders cannot stay in front of him.

- The weirdest part of this game is that the rim is micced up to the PA system in Ford Field. So loud too.

- Two straight possessions where UNC fouls a jump shooter. They may be up 24-8, but don't do the Spartans any favors. You don't want them to get hot.

- UNC is so good offensively. I hope everyone out there can appreciate how good this team is. They are absolutely incredible too watch. 17 points in 4:36? That's 70 points in a half pace. Watch how well this team moves the ball around. Every pass they throw is the right pass, and it is always on the money. When they swing the ball, they just zip it around the perimeter.

I could wax poetic all day, but I'll spare you for now.

- Three possessions for UNC, three baskets on tough shots. Not a good sign for MSU. The Spartans are already falling into a trap of forcing it offensively.

- Is anyone surprised that Hansbrough hit the floor 3 seconds in?

- And here we go. The atmosphere in here is incredible.

- It is so loud in here that you cannot here Jim Nantz finish the names of the players due to cheering (for State) and/or booing (for UNC).

- Here is the difference between Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale: during pre-game warm-ups, Vitale was out shaking hands and joking around with some fans. Bilas? He was intently watching the lay-up lines, trying to get any piece of information he could.

- Memphis has just announced that they have promoted Josh Pastner to head coach.

1 comment:

The Elias Sports Blog said...

Way to give your sources credit.