Don't Dismiss Spartans in UNC Rematch
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 11:44 AM CDT
North Carolina's Deon Thompson blocks a shot by Michigan State's Delvon Roe during the first half of their Dec. 3, 2008, meeting in Detroit%u2014where they play again tonight for the national championship.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Rationally, Michigan State shouldn’t have prayer in tonight’s NCAA basketball title game, writes Chris Dufresne in the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this season, North Carolina didn’t just beat the Spartans, it demolished them 98-63—and the Tar Heels have only gotten better since. “Cold hard facts say North Carolina hangs its fifth championship flag,” says Dufresne. “Clear rational thinking, however, doesn’t always get it right—especially in sports.”

Recall, for example, the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl of 2008. Or Duke’s improbable win over UNLV in 1990. “Passion and purpose, time and again, have overridden conventional wisdom,” writes Dufresne. Michigan State certainly has purpose, with downtrodden Detroit pulling for it, and the Spartans didn’t get to the title game by accident. “They’re not exactly Charlie’s doughnut team,” said Carolina coach Roy Williams. “They’re pretty damn good.”