ABC News on Campus Reporter Nadine Maeser blogs:
Police and fire fighters lined the streets of downtown Chapel Hill in preparation for a victory—and that’s exactly what they got.
The Tar Heels got one step closer Saturday night to adding another banner to the rafters of the Dean Dome. In their match-up against Villanova, Carolina showed its true talent.
Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough both scored in the double digits to help bring them to the most important game thus far of the season. The Tar Heels beat Villanova 83-69 in a game in which they seemed to dominate all aspects of the game of basketball.
The party started early on Franklin Street for many. UNC senior Katie Bilzi was running down the street at the beginning of half-time. “We are already rushing Franklin Street,” she said. “We are anticipating the rush.” With her hands up in the air and screaming “Tar Heels” at the top of her lungs, she wanted to get a head start on her celebration.
Carolina clearly owned the game from the first whistle of the game and that gave fans more of a reason to go crazy. And Bilzi had plenty of company. UNC alum Ellen Stanley has always loved the Heels and has never doubted a victory for the team.
“We’re the Tar Heels,” Ellen said. “We’re unstoppable.” The women wanted to be front and center for the rush of fans that would be exiting bars and restaurants. Stanley wanted to be certain that she’d be one of hundreds of fans to celebrate the victory.
“We’re gonna be in the middle of everything,” she said. But she was also quick to say, “But we won’t burn anything.” And with a smile, she said “I promise.”
But not everyone is a born and bred Tar Heel. Patrick Spaugh of Walnut Cove, N.C., never really had baby blue in his blood.
Spaugh grew up a Duke fan. He followed Duke basketball and dreamed of attending the private university until he was waitlisted. A freshman at UNC, he had to make the decision to leave behind a childhood love for its rival.
“I pull for Duke every other game except when they play Carolina,” he said. Despite his love for the royal blue, Spaugh filled out his NCAA Tournament Bracket with UNC finishing up on top. “Of course I had Carolina going all the way.”
And Carolina might be able to prove to Spaugh why the transformation from Duke fan to Carolina fan was worth the choice. Carolina will match up against Michigan State on Monday night for one of college basketball’s biggest nights.
UNC senior Hayley Walters had trouble finding the words to express her happiness. “It’s just so awesome to be able to witness this here and now.” The post-game celebration on the streets brought together students who were screaming, jumping and fist-pumping fans cheering on Roy’s boys advance to the final championship game.
A national championship is at stake. Tar Heel fans plan to be on Franklin Street for the game Monday night despite prior obligations. Class doesn’t seem to be an issue for many students as well. Asked if he’d be in his Tuesday morning classes he smiled, Spaugh laughed and said, “Ugh, that’s to be determined.”