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Open Game Thread : NCAA Tournament Game #5 : #1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks

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I honestly have no idea what to say.

This is what all season has led up to, the holy grail of college basketball.

The effin' Final Four.

All season long, I have believed a trip to San Antonio and the Final Four would be enough. I still think that, even if we lose tonight, this season is a success. But now that we are here, I want to win really bad.

But, seriously, that is about the extent of what I can put up here that makes sense. UCLA-Memphis is only six minutes done, meaning our game is at least two-and-a-half hours away, yet I can't really force myself to think about what will happen if we lose. I don't know how I will handle it. Of course, if we win, who knows how I will handle that too.

For the first time all season, I am unsure of my response to the end of a Kansas basketball game. Because, as I said before, there is uncertainty surrounding a game for the first time. Sure, I guess you could make the case that the Big 12 Championship game against Texas was an "unknown quantity", after they beat us the first time, but not for me. I knew that we played poorly in the second half, and we had a virtual home atmosphere at the Sprint Center. So, if we hadn't of won that game, I would have dissected what we did wrong as opposed to how Texas just beat us. This is what I have done all season long, whenever we have failed to come home with a W.

But tonight, when we take on an (arguably) more talented, harder-working and overall better team in the North Carolina Tar Heels, I won't be able to plan a postgame reaction. If we lose, we might have played awesome and just simply have been outplayed. If we win, we most likely played excellent, but who knows, maybe we just uglied up the game and got lucky. I honestly have no idea how to handle the Final Four, and all of its uncertainty.

The memory of five years ago (and six years ago, when I was actually in the building) are not completely lost on me, but I have a pretty good feeling that this experience will be different. Maybe not a different result, but a completely different atmosphere. A lot of it has to do with who is on our sideline, but this year just had a much different feeling than both 2002 and 2003, at least to me.

So, after typing four paragraphs of mostly gibberish, here is your open thread. Any and all thoughts about both Final Four contests, and all immediate (unknown) reactions go here. Anything else, really, can go here too, I guess. I will be here to provide some analysis, both positive and negative simultaneously, at half, but won't be a frequent commenter. I don't know how I will react, and I don't want to be rushing over to the computer, typing some words and rushing back to a prime seat for the game. So, sorry, but I won't be here.

But, seriously, we can do this. I promise. At least, that is what I have been thinking lately.

Oh, and I have yet to post much of a prediction of any kind. So, here we go, here are some predictions for the most important game of the season, and, Bill Self's career.

Predictions:

  • DA explodes to the tune of 28 points. Seriously, I am expecting big things from Shady, big enough that he shoots up draft charts and never plays a game for Kansas again after Monday night.(spoiler alert)
  • Hansbrough gets his, of course, but we limit the offensive rebounds reasonably well and no one else in the front court really does much of anything.
  • Both sides start out cold from the perimeter, then heat up almost simultaneously. We have a slight edge in FG% when all is said and done, but the shooting is roughly equal.
  • Brandon bounces back and scores 20+, but we can't really contain Lawson and he fastbreaks  his way to 22 points.
  • We win! I'll say the score is Kansas 82 UNC 77!
I really don't know what else to say, I'm new to blogging about these big-ass games. Sorry. I guess, I'll just stop now. I might be back in the comment section before tipoff, only to release some more anxiety.

But, seriously, we can do this.

ROCK CHALK!