I find Tyler Hansborough to be overrated. Not a shocker, I know.
What may come as a surprise, however, is that as someone with no rooting interest in Monday's tournament finale, considering I am a fan of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, I am rooting for North Carolina to beat the hometown yet-underdog Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA men’s basketball final.
It is not because I have a bet; my bracket busted weeks ago. Nor is it that I have anything against Michigan St.; Tom Izzo is one of my favorite coaches. Finally, I lean towards Duke when it comes to the Tobacco-Road Rivalry that exists in the plantation region of the nation. I may be pretentious in saying so (it wouldn't be the first time), but my reasoning for wanting the Tar Heels to win is much nobler than the previous reasons stated.
If the Tar Heels win on Monday, college basketball can be saved.
Imagine a world where LeBron James, Michael Conley and a healthy Greg Oden ran the floor together on the same team. Twenty years ago, this would be a reality. You see, if they had all stayed four years at Ohio State (where LeBron would have attended if he had not jumped straight to NBA super stardom) multiple national championships would have been won.
Carmelo Anthony, a lesser player than LeBron, won one of his own when he was a freshman at Syracuse which makes my mouth water when imagining what LeBron could have done not only on his own, but with the help of Conley and Oden, who almost won a national championship together their freshman year.
Linking this back to UNC, Tyler Hansborough can live up to all of his hype with one more win. If he does, it will be precedent for other players to stay longer in college in order to win titles. Along with Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, who also stayed another year in college in order to win the final game of the big dance, Hansborough may show other young talents that the NBA can wait, and that college truly does hold the greatest years of their lives.
College basketball is good now. With one more win and a little luck, it can be great.
Let’s go Tar Heels!