- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 29, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michigan State is marching on to Motown.

The Spartans gave the Final Four a hometown feel, stopping overall No. 1 seed Louisville 64-52 Sunday to win the Midwest Regional.

Goran Suton had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the second-seeded Spartans (30-6) reached their fifth Final Four in 11 years _ the most trips of any team in the nation during that span.

Only 90 miles from their campus, the Spartans will play Connecticut on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit. A crowd of 72,000, the largest ever for college basketball’s signature event, is expected for each game.

“Detroit, here we come,” said coach Tom Izzo, a Michigan native. “I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that.”

The Spartans made it 30 years after Magic Johnson led them to a national title over Larry Bird and Indiana State.

Along with advancing, the Spartans prevented a Big East blitz in the Final Four _ Louisville (31-6) was trying to become the third school from the power-packed conference to make it.

The Cardinals scored 103 points in overwhelming Arizona in the regional semifinal, but barely reached half that total against a rugged, defensive-minded squad. Earl Clark scored 19 points, but coach Rick Pitino’s team played without the precision or passion it had Friday night.

Louisville lost for the first time in 14 games. It was the second straight year they were eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the regional final.

South Regional

North Carolina 72, Oklahoma 60

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Ty Lawson scored 19 points and Danny Green added 18 to lead top-seeded North Carolina over Blake Griffin and Oklahoma in the South Regional final.

The Tar Heels (32-4) advanced to the Final Four for the second straight year and will play Villanova in the national semifinals.

Griffin had 23 points and 16 rebounds for Oklahoma, but the Sooners (30-6) went 2-for-19 from 3-point range.

North Carolina reached a record 18th Final Four. UCLA has been to 18, but the Bruins’ 1980 appearance was later vacated by the NCAA because of rules violations.

This will be the Tar Heels’ ninth Final Four in 19 seasons _ and it will be played at Detroit’s Ford Field, where they routed Michigan State 98-63 in December. Earlier Sunday, the Spartans also reached the Final Four.

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina’s big man, scored only eight points, but his team took a 21-point lead in the second half and won with ease. He was The Associated Press player of the year in 2008, and Griffin has made an impressive bid for this year’s honor.

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