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Off the cuff: Is it believable that TV announcer Mike Hogewood, a 20-year veteran who has to be at least in his late 40s, cares one way or another about rap singer Lil Mama? Many of you probably watched the national broadcast but in North Carolina we saw the regional Raycom broadcast. Coupled with former UNC player Jason Capel, Hogewood has continously fawned over her and said that Lil Mama is "one of the top young recording artists" in the country. After listening to her song "Shawty Get Loose" over and over on the tournament broadcasts, I'd have to say that Lil Mama is one of the top young recording artists in the country with the initials L.M.

Speaking of the TV coverage, what's with this shrinking the screen stuff so we can watch a talking head instead of a full-screen picture of the game. Just show us the damn game. They have so many technological toys to play with that they just can't help themselves. Several times their switching away or showing coaches or showing an in-house ad led to missed action on the court. Inexcusable.

I was glad to hear Mike Gminski mention the ACC tournament decal on the middle of the court. A few times players have slipped on the decal, which is too big, too ugly and evidently not too safe. I imagine it's so big because they were trying to hide the Bobcats logo.

In watching the game, I felt like Vassallo was killing the Heels. While he did finish with 17 points he was only six of 19 from the field. Plus, the Hokies shot only 39.7 from the field. I also thought the rebounding was closer but the Tar Heels outrebounded Virginia Tech 43-33.

Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen, who I chose as pre-season freshman of the year, did not get that post-season honor but he did make the all freshman team. Allen hauled in 10 rebounds in the first half but only got one in the second half.

Heels 68, Hokies 66
Hansbrough's last-second shot lifts UNC to finals

Tyler Hansbrough swished an eight-foot jumper off the right baseline in the final second to lift UNC to a 68-66 victory over Virginia Tech. The win puts the Heels in the finals of the ACC tournament. (3/15)

The Tar Heels, who trailed by as many as eight in the second half and were down 59-52 with six minutes left, seemed to put the pedal to the metal after Wayne Ellington finally got into the act. Ellington scored his first points of the second half on a drive with 5:55 to go to bring the Heels within five at 59-54.

A pair of free throws by Danny Green followed by an Ellington three tied it at 59 with 3:12 left. Ellington almost became the goat after picking up a technical when he jawed at Deron Washington, who had fouled him. A.D. Vassallo sank two free throws before Ellington got to shoot his free throw. He missed the front end of a one and one but Hansbrough rebounded and quickly banked it in to tie it at 61-61.

A long, floating three by Malcolm Delaney put the Heels back in a hole at 64-61. But just 15 seconds later, Ellington answered with a three from the top of the key to make it 64-64 with 2:03 to play.

Ty Lawson came up with a steal with 1:40 to go and Ellington was fouled in the process of shooting a three. Ellington hit two of the three free throws to give the Heels a 66-64 lead.

Hansbrough picked up a foul with 1:10 to go and Vassallo converted with two free throws to tie the game again, this time at 66-all.

A turnover by Green gave it back to Virginia Tech. With the shot clock running down, Hokie J.T. Thompson missed a jumper and Hansbrough came down with the rebound.

UNC called a timeout with 21 seconds left. Lawson dribbled the clock down and then drove to the basket, putting up a bank shot that barely made the goal. Green tipped it and Hansbrough recovered along the baseline where he squared up and hit the jumper with less than a second to play.

Deon Thompson deflected the Hokies' inbounds pass and the game was over.

Vassallo scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the first half to lead the Hokies to a 29-21 advantage with seven minutes to play in the half. Over a two-minute period, Hansbrough tallied four free throws a short running jumper and a follow dunk to help draw the Heels to a 38-38 halftime score.

Early in the second half Virginia Tech seemed to take control scoring seven straight to go up 50-42. Carolina, which shot only 40 percent, nonetheless clawed back thanks to a revitalized Ellington, who finished with 15 points, and the heroics of Hansbrough, who had a game-high 26 points. Ginyard added 10.

The Tar Heels are now 31-2 and advance to the finals Sunday at 1 p.m. against Clemson, which defeated Duke in the other semi-final game. The fourth-seeded Hokies fall to 19-13 but likely have done enough to earn an NCAA tournament berth.

ACC tournament first round game vs. Florida State
Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
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Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

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