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Greensboro Advantage Goes to UNC

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Carolina fans line up to watch the team practice.
GREENSBORO — Carolina is the big favorite to advance to the Final Four, and why not? Playing in Greensboro is like playing two home games. It's a big advantage for UNC.

You could tell it was home court advantage at practice Wednesday. Hundreds of Tar Heel fans showed up for a preview of what's ahead Thursday night. Fifty miles separates Chapel Hill from Greensboro, giving the Heels a built-in home court advantage.

Not only does Michigan State face a hostile crowd, but the Spartans will also collide with tradition. The Tar Heels have a mystique about them, one that had an effect on a young Mateen Cleaves. Cleaves says he grew up cheering for the Heels, and playing against them is like a dream come true.

You get the feeling the Big Ten player of the year has an even bigger dream than just a meeting with North Carolina.

The preseason prognosticators really missed the mark on Michigan State. The Spartans were picked to finish 8th in the Big Ten. Instead, MSU went out and grabbed a regular season co-championship.

It's been three years since Michigan State participated in the big dance. So far the Spartans are cutting quite a rug.