Gary Gramling

NCAA Heroes and Zeroes of the Day: Final Four

  • Hoophead
  • Gary Gramling
  • April 4, 2009, 11:49 PM

The national title game is set! North Carolina and Michigan State will tip off in Detroit Monday night. But how did we get here? Check out to see who made the difference, for better and for worse, on Saturday night...



Wayne Ellington, North Carolina: I've been critical of Ellington at times, but on Saturday night he consistently made the right decisions. He didn't force shots, and when he found himself open, he made them. Ellington shot 5 for 7 from three, hitting as many treys as the entire Villanova team! Carolina probably would have won without Ellington playing well, but the sharp-shooting two guard made sure this one was never in doubt.

Raymar Morgan, Michigan State: It's been a roller coaster season for Morgan. He got off to a great start, but hasn't been the same since a midseason bout with mono. On Saturday night, he was outstanding, crashing the boards and hitting some big midrange shots. Morgan finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and was the biggest reason the Spartans frontcourt held their own against the powerful Huskies.

Ty Lawson, North Carolina: If only he could hit some free throws! Lawson was the best player on the floor Saturday night, racking up 22 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. It would have been much more if he had shot better than 10 for 17 from the free throw line.

Korie Lucious, Michigan State: The freshman guard was Michigan State's secret weapon on Saturday night. With UConn poised to open up a decent-sized lead midway through the first half, Lucious delivered a couple of big threes. He averaged just 2.9 points per game this season, but finished with 11 in just nine minutes in Saturday's win.



Kemba Walker, Connecticut: Let's get this straight: Walker's heroics in the Elite Eight are the reason UConn made it to the Final Four. And there's no doubt the ultra-talented freshman will have plenty of great games ahead of him. But simply put, he was brutal on Saturday night. Walker struggled in every aspect of the game, but mostly from the line. Coming into Saturday night, he was a .746 percent shooter from the line, and made 9 of 10 in the Elite Eight. Against Michigan State, Walker shot a brutal 3 for 9 from the charity stripe. I said in our Three Keys preview that poor free throw shooting could do in the Huskies. On Saturday, that's exactly what happened.

Villanova's shooting touch: This was a tough way to go out. Villanova just couldn't find their shooting touch all night, building a brick house from three-point land. The Wildcats hit just 5 of 27 from trey, dooming any chance they had at knocking off North Carolina.

Camera Work: Look CBS, we don't need ariel views that cut half the players -- and often the ball -- out of the shot. Just show the basic camera angle, and if there's a cool angle that captured the shot, show it on the replay.

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