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Off the cuff: Against Louisville, Hansbrough passed Sam Perkins to become the second leading scorer in UNC history and he passed Rusty Clark to become the eighth leading rebounder in school history. Hey Tyler, if you come back for your senior year you can possibly become the leading scorer and rebounder in the history of the greatest college basketball program. Or you can go pro early and - oh, who cares, it's the NBA?

Remember the black columnist Mike Freeman who wrote unabashedly racist comments about Tyler Hansbrough - saying the reason he was getting all the national accolades was the fact that he is white? He has gone silent about Hansbrough. Freeman has written 12 columns about the NCAA tournament since the column in question and has overlooked Hansbrough in all of them. He did find the time to praise black player Derrick Rose of Memphis in back-to-back columns, including the day after Hansbrough almost singlehanded put the Heels in the Final Four. Rose, after all, according to Freeman, is a future NBA all-star (as if we care and as if that's the way we should measure a college student-athlete's worth) and could start today for a dozen NBA teams. Yawn. He's a "physical freak" and has demonstrated the maturity of a 30-year-old player, according to Freeman. After all, he scored 21 points and got six rebounds in an easy blow-out victory. Meanwhile, in another regional final, Hansbrough only scored 28 and got 13 rebounds in a close,hard-fought affair. Freeman praised another black player, Texas' D.J. Augustin by calling him "mortal but barely" and by writing that he "might be the most intelligent player in the country." It appears that Freeman - and to my knowledge he is not a follower of Rev. Jeremiah Wright but could be - is trying to be a cheerleader for his race.

By the way, Freeman seems to be a fan of the Memphis Tigers - and why not, they're the only team in the Final Four that is entirely comprised of black players. He wrote, "While it's possible the Tigers could torpedo the rest of the field - yes, they could easily beat the Tar Heels or UCLA - the Tigers offense remains the basketball equivalent of the 4X100 (relay). They run and gun better than anyone else." As a matter of fact, UNC averages 86 points per game while Memphis averages 79.

By the way, have you heard all the Dookies calling up national and regional sports talk shows saying they have been rooting for the Heels so they would match up with Kansas and lose to Roy Williams' former team? They think that will hurt Coach Williams more. I tend to think that Kansas is Coach Williams second favorite team.

Callers have also been ragging on Coach Williams for winning a national championship with Matt Doherty-recruited players but never winning a title with his "own players." I tend to think that it's harder to win a title with someone else's players. Nevertheless, maybe that will change real soon.

Heels 83, Cardinals 73
Hansbrough - who else? - leads Heels to the Final Four

UNC All-America player Tyler Hansbrough took over the game and buried Louisville from inside and outside with 20 second-half points to lead North Carolina into the Final Four with an 83-73 victory over the Cardinals. (3/29)

After Louisville had come from 12 down to tie it at 59-59 midway through the second half, Hansbrough drilled three 17-foot jumpers during an 18-7 run that made it 77-66 with a minute to play.

A Ty Lawson lob to Hansbrough broke the tie before Hansbrough drilled his first outside jumper of the second half to make it 63-59. The Cardinals got it down to two a couple of times but then Deon Thompson scored inside and Lawson popped a three from just in front of the bench to make it 71-64 with just over five minutes to play.

Back-to-back outside jumpers from Hansbrough sealed the game. Hansbrough, who if he comes back for his senior year might set several UNC records, scored 28 points and hauled in 13 rebounds. "We hate to lose but you have to give credit to a great basketball player," said Rick Pitino who ranks Hansbrough up there with the greatest players he's faced.

"I've seen some of the great players, Michael [Jordan], Magic [Johnson], and Charles Barkley, and they might have more talent, but I've never seen a player who plays every possession as hard as he does," Pitino said. "He was under duress, he had little time to get his shots off, and he came up big."

This marks the 17th time a UNC team has reached the Final Four. Last year the Heels led Georgetown by double figures in the Elite Eight game but lost. This year the Heels led Louisville by double figures in the Elite Eight game and won.

"We handled their run better (than last year against Georgetown) and stayed poised and fought back until eventually we had a run," Hansbrough said. "It kinda takes those past experiences away but we want to accomplish more."

Carolina trailed early 7-4 but pushed the ball upcourt quickly for a Marcus Ginyard dunk and the Heels were off to the races. Even when Louisville scored, the Heels shot out on the fastbreak.

The Heels went on an 8-0 to take a 14-9 lead on a tip in by Ginyard. Midway through the opening half, a Deon Thompson bank shot off the glass put Carolina up 21-14 and brought the partisan crowd to its feet in appreciation. The basket was the fourth in a row for UNC.

A running jumper along the baseline by Wayne Ellington gave the Heels their first double-digit lead at 27-17. The game got sloppy for several minutes. During the stretch, Quentin Thomas threw it away, then Louisville turned it right back - Green turned it over and Louisville fumbled it away but Hansbrough traveled.

The margin got down to five briefly on a couple of occasions but both times Carolina came back down the floor within seconds to score.

A three by Ellington with 1:43 to go put the Tar Heels up 40-28. Carolina took a 12-point lead at 44-32 into the lockeroom. The Heels got 12 second-chance points in the first half.

The lead never got larger as Louisville chipped away - in good measure from the shooting and driving of Jerry Smith - and eventually tied it at 59. Smith, who scored 17 points, never scored again over the last 11 minutes. Meanwhile Hansbrough scored 14 of his 28 points over the last 11 minutes.

Four other Tar Heels scored in double figures. Ellington scored 13 points, Lawson got 11, Green added 11 and Thompson finished with 10. Lawson also had nine assists.

The Heels shot 53 percent from the field to become the only team to shoot better than 50 percent against the Cardinals this season.

Louisville, which stayed in the game by virtue of shooting 53 percent themselves, ends the season at 27-9. UNC moves to 36-2 and will play Kansas in the national semi-finals Saturday.

Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
Take a look at other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

© 2008 CB3media Cary, NC

Is it just coincidence that the NCAA tournament banner this year is Carolina Blue or mighty close to it? Some might argue that it is Bruin Blue. This picture was taken prior to the UNC-Arkansas regional matchup in Raleigh at the RBC Center. Note the security person on top of the building.

(photo by Clifton Barnes)