Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tar Heels up at the half

UNC's last visit to Detroit's Ford Field ended with a blowout win.

The Tar Heels are halfway to their second big win in Motown. They are beating an undersized and overwhelmed Villanova team, which coincidentally, will set up a rematch with the same team they beat by 35 points in Detroit in December.

UNC leads Villanova 49-40 at halftime of the national semifinals. The Heels' shots are falling and they started quickly, just about the opposite of last year's Final Four exit to Kansas.

UNC fell behind 40-12 against Kansas a year ago and finished the 84-66 loss just 4-of-25 from 3-point range.

UNC has started 6-of-11 from 3 against Nova and stretched out to a 17-point lead before Nova close the half with a flurry.

Historically, UNC has struggled to shoot 3-pointers in the semifinal round. The Heels are 2-6 in the national semifinals since 1987. In those eight games — all held at a dome — the Heels made 41 of 153 (26.7 percent) of their 3-point shots.

Villanova, conversely, has Dante Calabria/Shammond Williams/Rick Fox disease, missing its first six 3s and making just 2-of-12.

Michigan State beat UConn 82-73 in the first semifinal to advance to Monday's title game. UNC beat the Spartans 98-63 on Dec. 3 at Ford Field in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Tyler Hansbrough, who had just eight points in UNC's regional final win over Oklahoma, leads the Heels with 14 points.

Wayne Ellington, who's 3-of-4 from 3, has 13 points. Ty Lawson, who hit his first 3 at 18:03 and set the tone for the Heels' shooting, has 11 points and four assists.

-- J.P. Giglio