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NCAA Tournament: 3 regulars, ’Nova set for Final Four

BY EDDIE PELLS Published: March 30, 2009

Carolina (32-4) is an 8-point favorite against ‘Nova, and the winner will play Monday night for the title against the winner of the Michigan State-Connecticut semifinal. UConn (31-4) is favored by 4.

Michigan State’s win over Louisville on Sunday prevented this Final Four from having three teams from the Big East, the way it happened when Villanova won it all in 1985. But there is still a chance of an all-Big East final.

"I’m worried about the next game,” Wright said. "But if history repeats itself, I’ll take it.”

North Carolina makes its second straight Final Four and will try to make up for an inexplicably bad first half last year. The Tar Heels fell behind 40-12 to Kansas in the semifinals, a blowout so bad that CBS announcer Billy Packer said the game was over.

They rallied to within four but wound up losing. Carolina’s star, Tyler Hansbrough, decided to return for his senior season.

He got what he was looking for — a return to the Final Four.

Carolina, Connecticut and Michigan State are all looking to join Florida as the second team with two championships in the 2000s.

Connecticut is actually looking for its third title since 1999.

But this has not been an easy trip, or season, for Jim Calhoun’s team.

Calhoun spent time in the hospital when the Huskies were in the first round, battling dehydration. More recently, the coach has been answering questions about possible recruiting violations.

"I’m as happy as I can possibly be about the basketball situation,” Calhoun said. "I’m so proud. I said to the kids, so happy for this group. I mean, I feel like busting out just because I just think they are really special, what they did once they get dealt a real tough blow. It took some bounces, it took some bruises.”


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