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Hansbrough key to UNC's chances


When talking about the North Carolina Tar Heels, the conversation begins with Tyler Hansbrough.

He is my pick for national Player of the Year. Hansbrough responded like a PTP'er in the NCAA tournament. He is a winner who competes so hard. His passion is amazing; he plays hard every possession and is the greatest competitor I have seen in my 29 years of calling games.

Tyler Hansbrough is a coach's dream. He really busts his gut, is so physical and tenacious, and it rubs off on his teammates. Right now, Roy Williams is two wins away from completing a dream season, winning his second national championship.

He makes big play after big play. Go ask Louisville coach Rick Pitino about Hansbrough in crunch time during the East regional finals! He has worked hard on his jump shot and the improvement is obvious.

North Carolina had an advantage playing its first four tournament games in Raleigh and Charlotte. My friends, the Tar Heels earned that advantage with consistent play all season long.

Hansbrough has carried the Tar Heels on his back at times this season. Believe me, North Carolina is a Goliath as Cinderella has been hit Midnight.

This North Carolina team understands what it has to do to win. It loves to run, baby, run and transition points will be a key. A healthy Ty Lawson has been a difference maker.

Keep an eye on Danny Green off the bench as a contributor. Quietly, Deon Thompson has been effective scoring in the paint during the tournament.

Then there is Wayne Ellington, who is capable of breaking a game open with his outside shooting. Just look back at what he did to Clemson this season.

I picked North Carolina to cut down the nets at the start of the season and I see no reason to change that pick now.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.