Heels take the title
The N&O's Luciana Chavez:
"...May kept delivering; in one three 3 1/2 miunute stretch, it was all May all the time."
The Kansas City Star's Jason King, (via the Charlotte Observer):
"..May saved his best performance for the game's most crucial moments. Illinois..whittled North Carolina's 15-point lead to 52-50 after Roger Powell Jr.'s layup with 12 minutes, 43 seconds remaining. But May responded with a three-point play on North Carolina's next possession. Illinois failed to score on its next trip down the court, and May made them pay again, this time using a power dribble to break free under the basket. Just like that, the Tar Heels surged back ahead by seven, 57-50."
May's contribution wasn't just physical, as WSJ's Lenox Rawlings points out:
"Every time the Tar Heels started to demonstrate joy, May and Coach Williams ordered them into calm seriousness, even with 9.9 seconds left. That intangible effort supplemented May's compelling show..."
ESPN's Pat Forde:
The Heels "couldn't have gotten done without May. The powerhouse center had a Bill Walton Lite stat line, making 10-of-11 shots, scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. But his stats actually bore an even stronger resemblance to his dad's performance in leading Indiana to the 1976 national title. Both scored 26 points, and both were named the tournament Most Outstanding Player."
I'll give Illinois credit for making the game as close as they did. I don't think I've ever seen a team play "three-ball" the way Illini do, with crisp passing and quick shooting.
But is there now any doubt that success on the basketball court "centers" around a quality big man?