Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green will finish their careers with a 4-0 record at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
They should thank Ty Lawson for making it possible.
In a classic example of what a fast and quick point guard can do to an opponent who isn't quite as fast or quick, Lawson spent the second half of Wednesday night's showdown slicing Duke's man-to-man defense to pieces while leading North Carolina to a 101-87 victory. He scored 21 of his 25 points in the final 17 minutes, and to understand the difference the junior made all you have to do is look at the box score.
It looks like this ...
UNC 44 57 101
Duke 52 35 87
You see that?
When Lawson was ineffective, Duke outscored UNC by eight.
When Lawson was effective, UNC outscored Duke by 22.
Trust me when I tell you that was not a coincidence, which is why it's fair to suggest that though Hansbrough is the star and face of North Carolina, Lawson might actually be the reason the Tar Heels win a national title, assuming they do win a national title. When he plays well, they're virtually unstoppable on offense, proof being how North Carolina became the first school to hang 100 on Duke in more than nine years.
And Duke is not a bad defensive team.
The Blue Devils actually entered with the third-most efficient defense in the nation, meaning they allow fewer points per 100 defensive possessions than everybody except Louisville and Memphis. But it was difficult to see that Wednesday night with Lawson running up and down the court, slicing through the lane, converting layups and leading North Carolina to a blowout win that placed Hansbrough and Green into rare company.
Thank-You cards are in order.