After those great Final Eight games, today's national semifinals were bound to be something of a letdown but boy did they exceed even those negative expectations. The Illinois game ended with about 6-7 minutes left . . . or really ended when Francisco Garcia left his game at the hotel and the effects of that caught up with his Louisville team. The Michigan State-UNC game was interesting until UNC went nuts about eight minutes into the second half and blew the Spartans off the court. Personally, I thought UNC would win, but the fact that Seth Davis was actually right at halftime warning MSU against continuing to try to play up-tempo against UNC really disgruntled me. That smarmy doof is gonna brag about that for about three months.
Some notes: (1) Deron Williams and Dee Brown did zip on offense. That cannot continue if the illins expect to win Monday. (2) UNC's top four players: Jawad Williams, May, McCants and Felton were 31-54 from the field; the rest of the lot went 4-17, but Jawad Williams' return to form makes UNC much better than it was even a week ago when he still seemed to be suffering from the hip pointer he sustained in the ACC Tourney. (3) Beware a Roy Williams-coached team if you have a halftime lead. UNC blitzed MSU by tallying the first 6 points of the second half after UNC's lackluster play helped MSU to a 38-33 lead at the break. Just like the 2003 title game when KU stormed back from 53-42 down to 55-51 before Syracuse could take a breath.
Stupid trivia of the day: ESPN noted that Illinois should be wary because it won by 15 and the other teams in the 64-team NCAA Tourney era (since 1985) that won their Final Four semifinal game by more than 15 had all honked in the Finals (G'Town in '85, Seton Hall in '89, 'Zona in '01 and KU in '03). That's cute, but ESPN failed to revise that little stat after UNC whacked MSU by 16. D'oh!