Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

North Carolina, UCLA, Punching Tickets

Illustration for article titled North Carolina, UCLA, Punching Tickets

Storming the Floor recaps last night's action and previews the last two Regional Finals as we prepare to move to the big NCAA stage in San Antonio.


East Region (Charlotte) Champion: North Carolina
Regional Most Outstanding Player - Tyler Hansbrough
North Carolina 83, Louisville 73

Louisville had this one tied with 10:21 left, and then UNC cranked up the defense again and started to inch ahead until it was all over. Say what you want about the excessive white-boy love (and Bilas love) of Hansbrough, but the guy does what it takes to get Carolina in the win column, and this tournament has been pretty much the same story. Hansbrough had 28 points and 13 rebounds, which included hitting jumpers from the top of the key as well as his usual flailing inside garbage points. Roy Williams now gets to sit back and wonder if he'll be facing fellow Carolinians Davidson in the Final Four, or his old team Kansas.

West Region Champion: UCLA
Regional Most Outstanding Player - Kevin Love
UCLA 76, Xavier 57

The Bruins are in the Final Four for the third straight season, which any perceptive basketball fan knows is a dicey proposition, because it means "shouldn't you have, like, won a championship by now?" This season, Florida no longer stands in their way, so Ben Howland might never have to hear that talk. If the Bruins are going to do it, they might want to hurry up. Phoenix MOP, Kevin Love had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and is making himself a hell of a lot of money right now. He seems completely unfazed by the pressure of this tournament and was seen goofing around shooting (and making) half- and full-court shots during a practice. Xavier was able to trade buckets in the first few minutes, but after that it was all UCLA.


#2 Texas vs. #1 Memphis 2:40 pm
This is a tough one to call. Both teams will be facing the perception that they come from the weakest bracket if they make the Final Four, but I imagine that provides a lot of motivation. I will say one thing for Memphis - even if they lose this one, at least they avoided the ugly upset most of us predicted for them. Losing to the #2 team in your region is not an embarrassment. Texas relies pretty heavily on D.J. Augustin, but he seems equal to the task, and I'm sure he'd love to play a Final Four in the state of Texas. Memphis saw a lot of production from their big dogs in a rout of Michigan State, and may be ready to make it three #1 seeds in San Antonio.


#10 Davidson vs. #1 Kansas 5:50 pm
You know Davidson's story: Curry shoots the lights out, Richards gets him the ball, and the undersized Lovedale grabs the crucial boards. For Kansas, it's the usual talent and the recent streak of being unable to reach the Final Four under Bill Self. Here's what Self is facing, pressure-wise:

• Facing a hugely popular Cinderella team
• Could get beat by a #10 seed
• Two #1 seeds are in San Antonio already, Memphis could make it three
• He plays the last game of the weekend
• If he wins, he gets to play his predecessor, Roy Williams
• If Mark Mangino can win an Orange Bowl, what's your problem?


That about sums it up. And you wonder why the guy's going bald.