Local News

Fans Excited as They Watch Tar Heels Tangle With, Subdue Cougars

Posted March 27, 2008 6:02 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2008 12:44 a.m. EDT

— With UNC taking on the Washington State Cougars in the Sweet 16 Thursday night, anticipation was reaching a fever pitch in the Queen City. Carolina blue-clad fans were packed into Charlotte's Bobcats Arena to watch the top-ranked Tar Heels play in the NCAA East Regional semifinals.

"They (fans) are all talking about Washington State's defense, but we have a pretty powerful offense. So I am hoping that the game gets up into the 80s or 90s (points) and we see some exciting basketball," UNC fan Nick Baker said before the game.

But Tar Heel fans with whom WRAL spoke with didn't seem worried with Tyler Hansbrough, winner of the 2008 Rupp Award for national player of the year, taking the court.

"He is a tough player," UNC fan Nick Bunting said.

"People have asked me, 'Why did you make this trip all the way out?' People are expecting us to lose, but if we win, it could be the biggest victory in our school's history," Washington State fan Tim Hamilton said before UNC's walk-away victory.

UNC takes on Louisville in the East Regional Final.

The Tar Heels (34-2) rank second nationally in scoring (89.9 points) while reaching the century mark eight times this year. That includes last weekend's routs at the RBC Center – where they beat 16th-seeded Mount St. Mary's 113-74, then No. 9 seed Arkansas 108-77.

This time, the Tar Heels are in Charlotte. They are also 6-0 in Bobcats Arena – including a season-opening win against Davidson and a three-game run through the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament two weeks ago – and are 23-1 in NCAA games played in their home state.