North Carolina point guard Ty Lawsonwon $250 playing craps in a Detroit casino on Wednesday night, which has become a story for reasons that aren't readily apparent. It's totally legal for Lawson, 21, to be in a casino and Roy Williams gave the team a 1:30 a.m. curfew that Lawson didn't break, so there's no smoke nor fire there.
It's become a story because NCAA President Myles Brand did some moaning about how he'd prefer that players not gamble legally in casinos. He can't do anything about it, though he might try choosing host sites for Final Fours that don't have three casinos downtown if he really thinks there's something awful about throwing a few dice.
So, rather than focus on how much attention this story's gotten, let's focus on how Lawson's got the hottest hand in college hoops right now. He was looking dicey at the tournament's open thanks to a toe injury that forced him out of the ACC Tournament and the first round game with Radford. He only managed two points in the first half against LSU, but has been unstoppable since then.
He dropped 21 second half points to lead Carolina to the Sweet Sixteen, and sparkled in each of last weekend's games. 19 points and nine assists against Gonzaga were followed by 19 points and three steals in the Elite Eight win over Oklahoma. Throw in his $250 win and you've got a guy who can't seem to do anything wrong.
If Lawson's streak isn't enough to convince you that things are lining up for North Carolina, consider this from the Wall Street Journal. Teams wearing light blue have won 29 percent of national titles since 1960, compared to just 12 percent for the dark blue of UConn and Villanova and a paltry 4 percent for the green favored by Michigan State. Like every college basketball stat in that time period, UCLA's incredible run skews the results, but Carolina blue is no reason for sadness.