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2009 NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
2009 Final Four logo
2009 Final Four logo
Season 2008–09
Teams 65
Finals Site Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
Champions North Carolina (5th title, 9th title game,
18th Final Four)
Runner-Up Michigan State (3rd title game,
7th Final Four)
Semifinalists Connecticut (3rd Final Four)
Villanova (4th Final Four)
Winning Coach Roy Williams (2nd title)
MOP Wayne Ellington North Carolina
Attendance 708,296
Top scorer Wayne Ellington North Carolina
(115 points)
NCAA Men's Division I Tournaments
«2008  2010»

The 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament was a tournament involving 65 schools playing in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball as a culmination of the 2008–09 basketball season. It began on March 17, 2009, and concluded with the championship game on April 6 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, where North Carolina defeated Michigan State to become champion. The 2009 tournament marked the first time a Final Four had a minimum seating capacity of 70,000. The University of Detroit Mercy hosted the Final Four, which was the 71st edition.

Prior to the start of the tournament, the top ranked team was Louisville in both the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls, followed by North Carolina, Memphis and Pittsburgh.[1] Only the Tar Heels of North Carolina were the regional winners and played in the Final Four.

For the first time since seeding began, all #1-#3 seeds made it into the Sweet 16, and for the third consecutive time, all #1 seeds made the Elite Eight.


Tournament procedure

Sixty-five teams were selected for the tournament. Thirty of the teams earned automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments. The automatic bid of the Ivy League, which does not conduct a postseason tournament, went to its regular-season champion Cornell. The remaining 34 teams were granted "at-large" bids by the NCAA Selection Committee.

United States President Barack Obama filled out his picks for the NCAA Men's Division I Tournament. He picked North Carolina to win the National Championship when he shared his "Barack-etology" with ESPN's Andy Katz on March 18, 2009. The other teams in his Final Four were Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Memphis. President Obama correctly picked one team, North Carolina, in the Final Four and winning the national title.[2]

Two teams play an opening-round game, popularly called the "play-in game". The winner of that game advances to the main draw of the tournament as a 16 seed and plays a top seed in one of the regionals. The 2009 game was played on Tuesday, March 17, at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, as it has since its inception in 2001.

All 64 teams were seeded 1 to 16 within their regions; the winner of the play-in game automatically received a 16 seed. The Selection Committee seeded the entire field from 1 to 65. SEC commissioner Mike Slive served his last year as chairman of the committee.

The first and second round games were played at the following sites:[3]

First and Second Rounds
Thursday and Saturday, March 19 and 21, 2009
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina (host: Atlantic Coast Conference)
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri (host: Big 12 Conference)
Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (host: St. Joseph's University)
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon (host: University of Oregon)
First and Second Rounds
Friday and Sunday, March 20 and 22, 2009
Taco Bell Arena, Boise, Idaho (host: Boise State University)
University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio (host: University of Dayton)
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida (host: Florida International University)
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota (host: University of Minnesota)
Ford Field, shown here for the 2008 Midwest Regional, hosted the 2009 Final Four.

The four regionals are officially named after their areas, a practice which resumed in 2007. Between 2004 and 2006, the regionals were named for their host cities. The following are the sites for the 2009 regionals:

Thursday and Saturday, March 26 and 28, 2009
East, TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts (host: Boston College)
West, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona (host: Arizona State University)
Friday and Sunday, March 27 and 29, 2009
South, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee (host: University of Memphis)
Midwest, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana (hosts: Horizon League & Butler University)

Regional winners advance to the Final Four, hosted at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan by the University of Detroit Mercy on April 4 (semifinals) and April 6 (National Championship).

Qualifying teams

East Regional - Boston
Seed School Conference Record Berth type
#1 Pittsburgh Big East 28–4 At-large
#2 Duke ACC 28–6 Tournament Winner
#3 Villanova Big East 26–7 At-large
#4 Xavier Atlantic 10 25–7 At-large
#5 Florida State ACC 25–9 At-large
#6 UCLA Pac-10 25–8 At-large
#7 Texas Big 12 22–11 At-large
#8 Oklahoma State Big 12 22–11 At-large
#9 Tennessee SEC 21–12 At-large
#10 Minnesota Big Ten 22–10 At-large
#11 Virginia Commonwealth Colonial 24–9 Tournament Winner
#12 Wisconsin Big Ten 19–12 At-large
#13 Portland State Big Sky 23–9 Tournament Winner
#14 American Patriot 24–7 Tournament Winner
#15 Binghamton America East 23–8 Tournament Winner
#16 East Tennessee State Atlantic Sun 23–10 Tournament Winner
West Regional - Glendale
Seed School Conference Record Berth type
#1 Connecticut Big East 27–4 At-large
#2 Memphis C-USA 31–3 Tournament Winner
#3 Missouri Big 12 28–6 Tournament Winner
#4 Washington Pac-10 25–8 At-large
#5 Purdue Big Ten 25–9 Tournament Winner
#6 Marquette Big East 24–9 At-large
#7 California Pac-10 22–10 At-large
#8 BYU Mountain West 25–7 At-large
#9 Texas A&M Big 12 23–9 At-large
#10 Maryland ACC 20–13 At-large
#11 Utah State WAC 30–4 Tournament Winner
#12 Northern Iowa Missouri Valley 23–10 Tournament Winner
#13 Mississippi State SEC 23–12 Tournament Winner
#14 Cornell Ivy League 21–9 Regular season Champion
#15 Cal State-Northridge Big West 17–13 Tournament Winner
#16 Chattanooga Southern 18–16 Tournament Winner
Midwest Regional - Indianapolis
Seed School Conference Record Berth type
#1 Louisville Big East 28–5 Tournament Winner
#2 Michigan State Big Ten 26–6 At-large
#3 Kansas Big 12 25–7 At-large
#4 Wake Forest ACC 24–6 At-large
#5 Utah Mountain West 24–9 Tournament Winner
#6 West Virginia Big East 23–11 At-large
#7 Boston College ACC 22–11 At-large
#8 Ohio State Big Ten 22–10 At-large
#9 Siena MAAC 26–7 Tournament Winner
#10 USC Pac-10 21–12 Tournament Winner
#11 Dayton Atlantic 10 26–7 At-large
#12 Arizona Pac-10 19–13 At-large
#13 Cleveland State Horizon 25–10 Tournament Winner
#14 North Dakota State Summit 26–6 Tournament Winner
#15 Robert Morris Northeast 24–10 Tournament Winner
#16 Alabama State SWAC 22–9 Tournament Winner
Morehead State Ohio Valley 19–15 Tournament Winner
South Regional - Memphis
Seed School Conference Record Berth type
#1 North Carolina ACC 28–4 At-large
#2 Oklahoma Big 12 27–5 At-large
#3 Syracuse Big East 26–9 At-large
#4 Gonzaga West Coast 26–5 Tournament Winner
#5 Illinois Big Ten 24–9 At-large
#6 Arizona State Pac-10 24–9 At-large
#7 Clemson ACC 23–8 At-large
#8 LSU SEC 26–7 At-large
#9 Butler Horizon 26–5 At-large
#10 Michigan Big Ten 20–13 At-large
#11 Temple Atlantic 10 22–11 Tournament Winner
#12 Western Kentucky Sun Belt 24–8 Tournament Winner
#13 Akron Mid-American 23–12 Tournament Winner
#14 Stephen F. Austin Southland 24–7 Tournament Winner
#15 Morgan State MEAC 23–11 Tournament Winner
#16 Radford Big South 21–11 Tournament Winner


Results to date [4]

* - Denotes overtime period

All times in U.S. EDT.


Opening Round Game – Dayton, Ohio

Winner advances to 16th seed in Midwest Regional vs. (1) Louisville.

  Opening Round Game
March 17
16a  Morehead State 58
16b  Alabama State 41

Midwest Regional – Indianapolis, Indiana

  First round
March 19–20
Second round
March 21–22
Regional semifinals
March 27
Regional finals
March 29
1  Louisville 74  
16  Morehead State 54  
  1  Louisville 79  
  9  Siena 72  
8  Ohio State 72
9  Siena 74**  
  1  Louisville 103  
  12  Arizona 64  
5  Utah 71  
12  Arizona 84  
  12  Arizona 71
  13  Cleveland State 57  
4  Wake Forest 69
13  Cleveland State 84  
  1  Louisville 52
  2  Michigan State 64
6  West Virginia 60  
11  Dayton 68  
  11  Dayton 43
  3  Kansas 60  
3  Kansas 84
14  North Dakota State 74  
  3  Kansas 62
  2  Michigan State 67  
7  Boston College 55  
10  USC 72  
  10  USC 69
  2  Michigan State 74  
2  Michigan State 77
15  Robert Morris 62  

West Regional - Glendale, Arizona

  First round
March 19–20
Second round
March 21–22
Regional semifinals
March 26
Regional finals
March 28
1  Connecticut 103  
16  Chattanooga 47  
  1  Connecticut 92  
  9  Texas A&M 66  
8  BYU 66
9  Texas A&M 79  
  1  Connecticut 72  
  5  Purdue 60  
5  Purdue 61  
12  Northern Iowa 56  
  5  Purdue 76
  4  Washington 74  
4  Washington 71
13  Mississippi State 58  
  1  Connecticut 82
  3  Missouri 75
6  Marquette 58  
11  Utah State 57  
  6  Marquette 79
  3  Missouri 83  
3  Missouri 78
14  Cornell 59  
  3  Missouri 102
  2  Memphis 91  
7  California 71  
10  Maryland 84  
  10  Maryland 70
Kansas City
  2  Memphis 89  
2  Memphis 81
15  Cal State Northridge 70  

East Regional – Boston, Massachusetts

  First round
March 19–20
Second round
March 21–22
Regional semifinals
March 26
Regional finals
March 28
1  Pittsburgh 72  
16  East Tennessee St. 62  
  1  Pittsburgh 84  
  8  Oklahoma State 76  
8  Oklahoma State 77
9  Tennessee 75  
  1  Pittsburgh 60  
  4  Xavier 55  
5  Florida St. 59  
12  Wisconsin 61*  
  12  Wisconsin 49
  4  Xavier 60  
4  Xavier 77
13  Portland St. 59  
  1  Pittsburgh 76
  3  Villanova 78
6  UCLA 65  
11  VCU 64  
  6  UCLA 69
  3  Villanova 89  
3  Villanova 80
14  American 67  
  3  Villanova 77
  2  Duke 54  
7  Texas 76  
10  Minnesota 62  
  7  Texas 69
  2  Duke 74  
2  Duke 86
15  Binghamton 62  

South Regional – Memphis, Tennessee

  First round
March 19–20
Second round
March 21–22
Regional semifinals
March 27
Regional finals
March 29
1  North Carolina 101  
16  Radford 58  
  1  North Carolina 84  
  8  LSU 70  
8  LSU 75
9  Butler 71  
  1  North Carolina 98  
  4  Gonzaga 77  
5  Illinois 72  
12  Western Kentucky 76  
  12  Western Kentucky 81
  4  Gonzaga 83  
4  Gonzaga 77
13  Akron 64  
  1  North Carolina 72
  2  Oklahoma 60
6  Arizona State 66  
11  Temple 57  
  6  Arizona State 67
  3  Syracuse 78  
3  Syracuse 59
14  Stephen F. Austin 44  
  3  Syracuse 71
  2  Oklahoma 84  
7  Clemson 59  
10  Michigan 62  
  10  Michigan 63
Kansas City
  2  Oklahoma 73  
2  Oklahoma 82
15  Morgan State 54  

Final Four – Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

  National Semifinals
April 4
National Championship Game
April 6
M2  Michigan State 82  
W1  Connecticut 73  
    M2  Michigan State 72
  S1  North Carolina 89
S1  North Carolina 83
E3  Villanova 69  

Game summaries

Midwest Region

Goran Suton of Michigan State was the Midwest regional most outstanding player. He was joined by Spartan teammates Kalin Lucas and Travis Walton, Louisville's Earl Clark and Kansas's Cole Aldrich on the NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Regional team.[5]

First round

To play the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals in the first round, Morehead State defeated Alabama State 58-43, with the Eagles keeping the Hornets without a lead the entire game. This marked the first time either team had played in the tournament in five years; the Eagles had not played since 1984.[6] Morehead State fell to Louisville 74-54, the 100th time a 1 seed beat a 16 seed in the tournament since seeding began. However, the Eagles managed to keep the game close until halftime, when Louisville led by only 2 points. In the second half, the Cardinals began to apply their signature fullcourt pressure, forcing turnovers and outscoring Morehead State 22-6 at the beginning of the half. Leon Buchanan's 17 points for the Eagles were not enough to upset Louisville, whose top scorers, Samardo Samuels and Terrence Williams, scored a combined 28 points. Morehead State has not beaten Louisville in 52 years.[7]

In two overtimes, the Siena Saints beat the Ohio State Buckeyes 74-72. Ohio State had the advantage of playing an hour from their campus, and received 25 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists from Evan Turner. The Saints made 6 out of 23 3-pointers and had 22 turnovers. Accordingly, Siena trailed for most of the game, but scored the last four points in regulation to force overtime. At the end of the first overtime, Siena's Ronald Moore drained his first 3-pointer to force a second overtime. With 3.9 seconds left in that overtime, he hit a second three from the same location to give the Saints a late 2-point lead. In an attempt to send the game into a third overtime, Turner shot a 15-footer immediately afterwards, but he missed it. This was Siena's fifth appearance in the tournament, after beating Vanderbilt University in 2008 as a 13 seed.[8]

The Arizona-Utah matchup was not as close. The Fifth-seeded Utah Utes were upset by twelfth-seeded Arizona Wildcats, one of the last teams to make it in the tournament and a questionable entry[9], by a score of 84-71. The Utes closed the lead to two with roughly five minutes left in the game, but the Wildcats' answer was a 10-1 run. Utah's Luke Nevill committed two fouls less than four minutes into the game and scored only 12 points. Nic Wise of Arizona, meanwhile, led the team with 29 points, with 21 in the second half.[10]

The Cleveland State-Wake Forest game was an even larger upset. In their second bid in the tournament, the Cleveland State Vikings shocked the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 84-69. This 15-point win ties for third-greatest victory margin for a 13 seed over a 4 seed. Wake Forest, once ranked first in the country, had 16 turnovers in the matchup, compared to six for the Vikings. James Johnson of the Demon Deacons scored 22 points, although this could not compensate for a substandard offense. Their scoring leader, Jeff Teague, finished with 10 points, half his average. For these reasons, Wake Forest never obtained a lead, while Cleveland State sank three consecutive 3-pointers in the early minutes of the game.[11]

For the first time in 19 years, Dayton advanced to the second round of the tournament with a win over West Virginia 68-60. This also ended West Virginia's first-round winning streak, which had lasted since 1992. Chris Wright led the Dayton Flyers with 27 points, a career high, while also chalking up 10 rebounds. Charles Little also aided the Flyers with 18 points. Darryl Bryant, who led West Virginia with 21 points, shot two consecutive three pointers to bring Dayton's lead to 48-47 with 11:02 minutes left in the game. However, that was the closest the Mountaineers had to a lead outside the beginning of the game.[12]

In their first eligible year, North Dakota State appeared in the tournament, facing defending champion Kansas. The three-seeded Kansas Jayhawks staved off the fourteenth-seeded Bison's upset bid with a 84–74 victory. Ben Woodside shined with 37 points for the Bison, his sixth game of the season with at least 30 points. However, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich proved too much for North Dakota State, accounting for 65 percent of the Jayhawks' points with 32 and 23 respectively.[13]

The tenth-seeded USC Trojans demolished the seventh-seeded Boston College Eagles by a score of 72-55, helped by Taj Gibson's 10-for-10 shooting from the field, tied for the second-best NCAA tournament field-goal shooting performance in history. He led the team with 24 points and recorded six rebounds, five assists, and three blocks. Dwight Lewis also added 20 points for the Trojans. After leading 34–30 at halfime, the Eagles scored just a single field goal during one 13-minute stretch, as part of a 23.1 shooting percentage in the second half.[14]

Robert Morris, the region's 15 seed, was blown away by second-seeded Michigan State 77-62. The game was tied with 4:44 left in the first half, but then the Colonials went almost 20 minutes without scoring a single point. The Spartans took advantage of this for a 21-0 run that sealed the game in their favor. The Colonials' Jeremy Chappell was the only team member to score double-digit points with 11, and he also led the team with six rebounds, two steals, and three blocks. Raymar Morgan was the Spartans' leading scorer with 16 points.[15]

Second round

Ninth-seeded Siena faced top seed Louisville, with the Cardinals emerging victorious 79–72. Taking advantage of Louisville's 19 turnovers, the Saints came back from a 12-point deficit with 17:21 left in the game to snatch the lead around the 9-minute mark. Edwin Ubiles broke through Louisville's full-court pressure and added 24 points for Siena. Terrence Williams, known as one of the most relaxed players on the Cardinals roster, saved his team by grabbing rebounds and making 3s. He led the team with 24 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and four assists. Earl Clark also helped the Cardinals' cause with 12 points and 12 rebounds.[16]

In a 12 vs. 13 seed Cinderella matchup, Arizona handily defeated Cleveland State. The Wildcats' zone defense puzzled Cleveland State, and their fast breaks sealed the game. The smallest deficit the Vikings faced was 48–44 about midway through the second half, though the Wilcats then went on a 13-2 run led by Nic Wise's five consecutive points. His 21 points led the team's four double-digit scorers. Arizona was excellent behind the free-throw line, finishing 24 for 28.[17]

Cole Aldrich's triple-double with 13 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots paved the way for a third-seeded Kansas win over 11 seed Dayton. This was only the sixth triple-double in NCAA tournament history. With 43 points, Dayton scored the fewest points they had all season, compared to Kansas's 60. Despite their small point total, the Flyers shot 72 times, its most all season, amounting to a 22.2 shooting percentage. The Jayhawks were also not having one of their better offensive games, with Sherron Collins being an exception; he made 25 points. This marked the third straight Sweet Sixteen appearance for Kansas.[18]

Playing the tenth-seeded USC Trojans, second-seeded Michigan State utilized Travis Walton's career-high 18 points for a 74–69 win. Normally known as a defensive player and averaging 4.9 points per game, Walton shot 8 for 13 from the field. His team out-rebounded USC 33 to 23, and USC made only one three-point play. Star Trojan Taj Gibson was in foul trouble throughout much of the game, and yet his teammates rallied for 14 lead changes and 16 ties. Dwight Lewis, who gave a 19-point performance overall, scored six consecutive points for USC for a late tie. The Spartans only earned a victory after the Trojans missed their last nine shots. With the win, Michigan State has made it to the Sweet 16 eight times of the last 12 years, more than any other team except Duke.[19]

Regional semifinals (Sweet Sixteen)

Louisville, the region's top seed, routed twelfth-seeded Arizona 103-64. In NCAA tournament history, this was Louisville's largest win and Arizona's largest loss. It was no surprise, given the Cardinals' 57.6 field goal percentage and their 48% shooting behind the arc. Their fullcourt pressure forced 15 turnovers on the Wildcats the entire game, including nine in the first half. Earl Clark led the Cardinals with 19 points, whose ballhandling garnered 29 assists. This was the most lopsided Sweet 16 victory since 1972.[20]

The Michigan State-Kansas matchup was much more intense. After overcoming a 13-point first half deficit, the Spartans won 67-62. They shot 16 of 17 from the foul line, and on their only miss they rebounded the ball and gave Raymar Morgan the only points of the night on a dunk. Such rallies in the second half narrowed the deficit and occasionally took the lead, although the Jayhawks responded and were up by 2 with 2 minutes left in the game. They were helped by Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich's combined 37 points. However, Kalin Lucas of the Spartans, who had scored 11 points in the first 39 minutes of the game, made seven straight points with 48 seconds left. Goran Suton also added nine rebounds, five steals, and a season-high 20 points for Michigan State.[21]

Regional final (Elite Eight)

Michigan State blew out overall number one seed Louisville, 64-52, to advance to their fifth Final Four since 1999. Michigan State held Louisville to their second lowest point total of the season with their man-to-man defense keeping them out of sync all game. Center Goran Suton had 19 points and Durrel Summers had 12 in the rout. Earl Clark had 19 for Louisville.

West Region

AJ Price was named MVP of the West Regional. He was joined by teammate Kemba Walker, Missouri's DeMarre Carroll and J.T. Tiller and Memphis' Tyreke Evans on the NCAA West All-regional team.[22]

First round

Forward Quincy Pondexter scored 23 points to lead his Washington Huskies to a first round 71-58 win over Mississippi State Bulldogs in the West Regional. Only Barry Stewart put up double digit points (14) for the Bulldogs.

Second round

Pac-10 champions Washington Huskies scored 46 points in the second half, but it was not enough to beat the Purdue Boilermakers in the second round of West Regional, falling short by two points (76-74). Leaders for Purdue were JaJuan Johnson with 22 points and Keaton Grant with 12 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas with 24 points and Jon Brockman with 18 rebounds led the Huskies.

Regional semifinals (Sweet Sixteen)

Connecticut faced Purdue at University of Phoenix Stadium in a West Regional semifinal. It was UConn who took full advantage of many Purdue mistakes and, even though Robbie Hummel was able to shoot quite well scoring 17 points, it was Hasheem Thabeet and the Huskies who pulled away for a 72-60 win to move onto the regional finals.

In the nightcap of the sweet sixteen matchups, two sets of Tigers met, pitting Missouri against Memphis in a matchup that saw teams with similar fast-paced styles meet. Missouri was able to pull away with a 27-7 run that gave them a 64-40 lead. Though Memphis attempted to claw back into the game through Tyreke Evans' 33 points, it was JT Tiller, DeMarre Carroll, and Leo Lyons that moved on to meet UConn in the regional final along with the rest of their Missouri Tigers.

Regional final (Elite Eight)

Kemba Walker came off the UConn bench to spark them to a victory over the 3 seeded Missouri Tigers

East Region

Scottie Reynolds was named Regional most outstanding player. He was joined by teammates Dwayne Anderson and Dante Cunningham, Panthers Sam Young and DeJuan Blair on the NCAA East All-Regional team.[23]

First round

UCLA Bruins' Alfred Aboya scored two free-throw points with 48 seconds remaining in the game to help UCLA get by VCU in the first round at the East Regional in Philadelphia's Wachovia Center. Top scorers in the game were Eric Maynor (21) for VCU and Josh Shipp (16) for UCLA.

Villanova Wildcats, playing at home against an American University team that featured 5 seniors, fell behind early as American hit a barrage of 3 pointers. However, in the 2nd half, Villanova was able to take advantage of 20 free throws in the final 13 minutes of the game to win against American.[24]

No. 12 seed Wisconsin upset #5 seed Florida St. 61–59 in OT. Down 31–19 at the half, the Badgers' Jason Bohannon made a three point jumper to give Wisconsin the lead with 45 seconds left in regulation. Trevon Hughes fouled Toney Douglas, who made two free throws to send the game into over-time. In over-time, the Badgers trailed by one with just seconds left when Hughes made a twisting shot from the lane over two defenders to put the Badgers ahead 60-59. Hughes was also fouled on the shot, and made the resulting free throw to make the score 61–59. Florida State had just enough time to run a full court in-bounds play but, the pass was deflected at half court thus securing the Badger victory.[25]

Second round

By six Wildcats scoring double-digit points, Villanova ended UCLA's hope of going to the Final Four for the fourth time in a row. Dante Cunningham had 18 points; Reggie Redding and Corey Fisher had 13; Corey Stokes put up 12; eleven points came from Scottie Reynolds and ten points were put up by Dwayne Anderson for the winning team. Josh Shipp had 18 points and Alfred Aboya had 8 rebounds for UCLA.

Regional semifinals (Sweet Sixteen)

Villanova (#3) upset Duke (#2),77-54, to advance to the Regional Championship game to face Pittsburgh (#1). The Wildcats, who were ahead by 3 at half-time, were led in scoring by Scottie Reynolds (16), Dante Cunningham (14) and Reggie Redding (11).

Regional final (Elite Eight)

Number one seed Pittsburgh was upset by the Villanova Wildcats, 78–76 in the East Regional Finals, denying the Panthers a chance for a first national championship in men's basketball. With five seconds remaining, Levance Fields, who was fouled by Corey Fisher, shot two free-throws to tie the game for Pitt. But Scottie Reynolds' one-second jumper was good to give Villanova an upset victory. Pitt's Sam Young scored 28 points and DeJuan Blair had 20 points. Dwayne Anderson was top scorer for the Wildcats with 17 points.

South Region

Ty Lawson was the South regional MVP and he was joined on the All-regional team by teammates Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough as well as Blake Griffin and Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn.[26]

First round

Western Kentucky advanced to the second round for a second consecutive year as a 12 seed, beating 5th seeded Illinois. 10th seeded Michigan upset 7th seeded Clemson 62–59 in its first tournament win since 1998. It was Michigan's first tournament appearance in 11 years after the school was rocked with sanctions and punishments from the Chris Webber scandal in the mid-2000s.

Second round

Regional semifinals (Sweet Sixteen)

Regional final (Elite Eight)

Final Four

All final four teams in the tournament had won at least one national championship. Entering the tournament, North Carolina had the most with four (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005); Connecticut had two (1999, 2004); Michigan State also had two (1979, 2000), and Villanova won one (1985).

The Spartans had home court advantage by playing in their home state. Six teams have played the Final Four in their home states, only four teams won. UCLA (1968, 1972, 1975) and North Carolina State (1974) won the national title, but Duke (1994) and Purdue (1980) lost in the Final Four. The biggest advantage came in 1968 and 1972 when UCLA played the championship game at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, their home before Pauley Pavilion was built.

Michigan State vs. Connecticut

April 4
6:07 EDT
Michigan State 82, Connecticut 73    Ford Field, Detroit
Attendance: 72,456
Referees: John Cahill, Mike Stuart, Les Jones
Scoring by half: 38–36, 44–37
Pts: K. Lucas 21
Rebs: R. Morgan 8
Asts: T. Walton 8
Steals: R. Morgan 5
Blocks: D. Roe 2
Pts: H. Thabeet 17
Rebs: S. Robinson 13
Asts: C. Austrie 2
Steals: A. Price 2
Blocks: H. Thabeet 2

Michigan State, with 7 minutes to play, finally took hold of the game and defeated the number one seed Connecticut to advance to the championship game against North Carolina. The Spartans started the game with a 7 point run, but the Huskies would come back to take a lead in the first half. Michigan State took it back and was leading by two at the half. Connecticut had the lead twice early in the second period. Michigan State, led by guard Kalin Lucas with 21 points and forward Raymar Morgan with 18 points, was just too much at the end for the Huskies. Scoring for Connecticut was shared by Jeff Adrien (13), Stanley Robinson (15), Hasheem Thabeet (17) and A.J. Price (15).[27]

Villanova vs. North Carolina

April 4
8:47 EDT
Villanova 69, North Carolina 83    Ford Field, Detroit
Attendance: 72,456
Referees: Scott Thornley, Karl Hess, Pat Driscoll
Scoring by half: 40–49, 29–34
Pts: S. Reynolds 17
Rebs: D. Cunningham 12
Asts: S. Reynolds 5
Steals: D. Anderson 3
Blocks: S. Clark 1
Pts: T. Lawson 22
Rebs: T. Hansbrough 11
Asts: T. Lawson 8
Steals: T. Hansbrough 4
Blocks: D. Green 3

After the first five minutes, North Carolina used an 11-point run to end Villanova's hope for another national championship and put the Tar Heels into the championship game for a chance to win their fifth title in nine trips. Ty Lawson produced 22 points, followed by Wayne Ellington with 20 points and Tyler Hansbrough with 18 points. Hansbrough, the sixth-leading scorer in tournament history, pulled down 11 rebounds. For Roy Williams, who coached North Carolina to a national championship in 2005, it is back to the title game again.

Championship game – Michigan State vs. North Carolina

Ford Field was the host of the 2009 Final Four and Championship game.

This 71st title game featured #1 seed North Carolina, which had a 4–4 record in the finals, versus #2 seed Michigan State, which had a 2–0 record going into the game. It was also a matchup featuring future Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, who guided Michigan State to the championship in 2000 in his 5 trips to the Final Four, against current Hall of Famer Roy Williams, who won the title in 2005 in 7 Final Fours.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1979 national title game between Michigan State Spartans and the Sycamores of Indiana State, Hall of Fame players Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird, who played against each other then, presented the game ball at the 2009 NCAA national championship game Monday night.[28]

The game was a rematch of "BasketBowl II", of 2009's ACC-Big Ten Challenge, won by the Tar Heels 98–63. That game was also played at Ford Field.

April 6
9:21 EDT
Recap Michigan State 72, North Carolina 89    Ford Field, Detroit
Attendance: 72,922
Referees: Tom O'Neill, Curtis Shaw, Tony Greene
Scoring by half: 34–55, 38–34
Pts: G. Suton 17
Rebs: G. Suton 11
Asts: K. Lucas 7
Steals: D. Green 1
Pts: T. Lawson 21
Rebs: E. Davis 8
Asts: T. Lawson 6
Steals: T. Lawson 8
Running score of the championship game.

North Carolina, with a first bucket from Deon Thompson, took off and ran to a 21-point lead at the 10-minute mark. The lead grew to 24 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the first half, with most points coming from Wayne Ellington (15). The Spartans were behind 34–55 at the half, a tournament record lead for the Tar Heels. Goran Suton had the most points for Michigan State.

In the second half, Michigan State made a comeback to within 13 points of North Carolina with 4:56 to go in the game, but was unable to overcome the record 21 turnovers. Roy Williams and his Tar Heels defeated the Spartans 89–72 to take home his second trophy for the university. Ty Lawson set a record with 8 steals.

All Tournament team

Tournament notes

  • Largest tournament point differential (+121) by the champion since 1996
  • Highest attended National Semifinal Games (72,456) in Final Four history (old record: 64,959)
  • Highest attended National Championship Game (72,922) in Final Four history (old record: 64,959)
  • Highest total Final Four attendance (145,378) ever (old record: 129,918)
  • Roy Williams is one of four active coaches to win multiple titles (Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan and Mike Krzyzewski are others)
  • Nielsen ratings for the Championship Game were down 7% to 11.9/19 versus a 12.8/20 the previous year. The entire tournament averaged a 6.3/13, a 5% increase.[29]
  • Blake Griffin of Oklahoma was the winner of the John Wooden Award, presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Friday, April 10 in Los Angeles.
  • 708,296 fans in attendance over the course of 35 sessions.[30]

Record by conference

Conference # of Bids Record Win % R32 S16 E8 F4 CG
ACC 7 9–6 .600 3 2 1 1 1
Big East 7 17–7 .708 6 5 4 2
Big Ten 7 9–7 .563 4 2 1 1 1
Big 12 6 11–6 .647 6 3 2
Pac-10 6 6–6 .500 5 1
Atlantic 10 3 3–3 .500 2 1
SEC 3 1–3 .250 1 0
Horizon 2 1–2 .333 1 0
Mountain West 2 0–2 .000 0 0
C–USA 1 2–1 .667 1 1
MAAC 1 1–1 .500 1 0
Ohio Valley 1 1–1* .500 0 0
Sun Belt 1 1–1 .500 1 0
WCC 1 2–1 .667 1 1

*Morehead State won the Opening Round game.

The America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Ivy, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NEC, Patriot, Southland, SoCon, SWAC, Summit, and WAC conferences all went 0–1.

The columns R32, S16, E8, F4, and CG respectively stand for the Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and Championship Game.



Once again, except for the play-in game, which was telecast on ESPN, CBS and CBS College Sports Network served as broadcasters on television for the tournament. The only change from past years at the Final Four was that Jim Nantz worked with Clark Kellogg in the color commentary position instead of Billy Packer, who left CBS in July 2008. Tracy Wolfson joined Nantz and Kellogg at the Final Four and the Championship game in Detroit as sideline reporter.

For the play-in game in Dayton, ESPN had Brent Musburger, Steve Lavin and Erin Andrews working as the announcers.

Some CBS affiliates put additional game broadcasts on digital subchannels, or, as in the following two instances, on other stations:

  • WOIO and WUAB (Raycom Media duopoly): On March 20, WOIO aired Ohio State vs. Siena, while Cleveland State vs. Wake Forest was on WUAB at the same time. The Cleveland area has a substantial number of OSU alumni, and Mansfield, although part of the Cleveland market, is equidistant to both Columbus and Cleveland.
  • KOTV and KQCW (Griffin Media duopoly): Also on March 20, KOTV aired Oklahoma State vs. Tennessee; at the same time, Kansas vs. North Dakota State was on KQCW. The reason for this simulcast is that part of the Tulsa market includes Coffeyville and other communities at the southern end of Kansas.


Westwood One was once again the radio home for the tournament.

Opening Round Game

First/Second Round


  • Kevin Kugler and John Thompson - East Regional at Boston, MA
  • Wayne Larrivee and Bill Frieder - West Regional at Glendale, AZ
  • Kevin Harlan and P.J. Carlesimo - South Regional at Memphis, TN
  • Ian Eagle and Pete Gillen - Midwest Regional at Indianapolis, IN

Final Four

  • Kevin Kugler, John Thompson and Bill Raftery - at Detroit, MI

International broadcasters

Yahoo! Sports and also broadcast the entire tournament live for free on the internet.

See also


  1. ^ 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Rankings (Mar. 16) on
  2. ^ Presidential pick 'em at the White House
  3. ^ "NCAA Championships". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  4. ^ " - The Official Web Site of the NCAA". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  5. ^ "Kansas Center Cole Aldrich Named to NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Regional Team". WIBW. 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  6. ^ "Morehead St. earns matchup with Louisville in tourney". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  7. ^ "Louisville applies pressure in second half to cruise past Morehead State". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Moore's clutch shots spur Siena by Ohio St. in 2OT". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  9. ^ "Scouting Friday's Sweet 16 games -". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  10. ^ "Wise's 21 after half propel Arizona past fifth-seeded Utah". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  11. ^ "Cleveland State races to early lead to knock out Wake Forest". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  12. ^ "Flyers shake Huggins hex, take down sixth-seeded West Virginia". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  13. ^ "Kansas holds off North Dakota State as Collins pours in 32". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  14. ^ "USC rolls as Gibson's 10-for-10 shooting leads to upset of Boston College". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  15. ^ "Morgan, Michigan State bully Robert Morris in Midwest opener". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  16. ^ "Louisville reaches 2nd straight Sweet 16 behind Williams' double-double". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  17. ^ "Wildcats reach final 16 for 12th time since '88". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  18. ^ "Aldrich's 13 points, 20 boards, 10 blocked shots lead KU to Sweet 16". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  19. ^ "Walton's career-high 18 lift Spartans over USC, into Sweet 16". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  20. ^ "Cardinals fly into Elite 8 with one-sided victory over Wildcats". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  21. ^ "Lucas, Spartans eliminate Jayhawks with late free throws". Associated Press. ESPN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  22. ^ Casacchia, Chris (2009-03-28). "Notes from Glendale: Huskies thrive in Arizona". Sporting News. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  23. ^ Gerstner, Joanne C. (2009-03-28). "NCAA East Region Insider: Villanova bringing back the 1980s". Detroit News. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  24. ^ Anderson, Cunningham lead way as Villanova ousts upset-minded American
  25. ^ wire (2009-03-21). "Hughes' improbable shot in OT lifts 12th-seeded Wisconsin past FSU". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  26. ^ Murtaugh, Frank (2009-03-29). "NCAA South Regional: North Carolina 72, Oklahoma 60". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  27. ^ "Morgan breaks out of slump as Michigan State topples Connecticut in Final Four". Associated Press. April 4, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Bird, Magic to present game ball at title game". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  29. ^ Title game down, overall ratings up
  30. ^ The NCAA News: Basketball attendance unaffected by economic slide, May 12, 2009

External links


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