There is one thing that you can count on Saturday when the Tarheels go up against the Kansas Jayhawks in a Final Four match-up. Tyler Hansbrough will have a solid game. He may have a slow start, as he did many times this year, but when he struggles in the first half he always comes through in the second half.
The key to this game for North Carolina may be another guy. That guy is Wayne Ellington. Don't get me wrong. I am a huge Tyler Hansbrough fan. I love watching him play, and I love how hard and physical he plays, but he has been a picture of consistency all year long. The Tarheels know what they will get from Psycho T.
Ellington has been a bit more inconsistent. He has been great in some games and not so great in other games.
Consider this, in the tarheels only two losses this season (vs Maryland and Duke), Ellington shot 30% from the field, which is far lower than his season average of 47.1%.
He has also made only 33.3% of his three pointers in the two losses, also far lower than his season average of 41.4%.
My opinion is also based on what I have seen with my own eyes. When Ellington gets hot the whole team responds on offense and and defense. He is the ultimate spark plug for an offense. Whether he is driving the lane for a dazzling layup or shooting a pinpoint accurate three ball from the corner, Wayne can be the most influential momentum builder for this team.
I think that North Carolina will win the championship this year, and though Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough will play an important role, the biggest key may be the third best player on the team, Wayne Ellington.