Tar Heels Hope to Banish Bulldogs

By Virginia Breen

Mar 27, 2009 12:07pm

ABC News On Campus reporter Walter Storholt blogs: After Friday, only eight teams will remain in the NCAA tournament. Tonight, the North Carolina Tar Heels tip off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Memphis. Several storylines have emerged heading into the game. First, the toe:  UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his right big toe in practice a few days before the last regular season game against Duke. After missing three straight games, including the ACC tournament and UNC’s first NCAA tournament game against Radford, Lawson led the Heels to a comeback win against LSU in the second round. But reports from Memphis have not been good. Lawson is experiencing even more pain in his foot this week than he was before the LSU game. He says he knows he is just going to have to play through the pain. If his toe starts to swell, however, freshman Larry Drew will need to play a crucial role. Another storyline is the recent success of Wayne Ellington. As one of Carolina’s biggest outside threats, Ellington was in a shooting slump for much of the season. However, since March he has shot more than 60 percent from the field and posted three straight 20-point games for the first time in his career. With Wayne back, arguably better than ever, it greatly bolsters the Tar Heels’ chances for another Final Four appearance. As always, a great deal of focus is on Tyler Hansbrough. The defending National Player of the Year is one of four finalists for the award again this season. Even though it seems like “Psycho-T” gets hammered in the paint more and more as each game passes, he still manages to amass almost a double-double every game. Hansbrough has already etched his legacy as one of the greatest to play at Carolina. But I have a feeling that Hansbrough’s collegiate “book” still has a few chapters missing. I heard someone say the other day that even if the Tar Heels do not win the National Championship this year, Hansbrough’s legacy is guaranteed. His personal achievements will speak for themselves, and he will still be considered as one of the greatest. While that might be true, if you think that’s enough for Hansbrough, think again. The guy is craving a National Championship. It is one of the main reasons he came back for his senior year. Although the Player of the Year Award, the ACC scoring record, and numerous other numbers are exciting and something to be proud of,  I’m willing to bet he would trade it all for a National Championship. I think the best of Tyler Hansbrough is yet to come. And that is something to be excited about. The game tips off just before 10 p.m. on Friday. The winner plays either Oklahoma or Syracuse (also in action Friday) Sunday.

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