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Don’t bet against the Tar Heels

Welcome to the Final Four, the place amateur players love to come to . . . gamble?

The week’s most interesting news conference offering: North Carolina junior guard Ty Lawson’s admission that he won $250 playing craps at a casino in Detroit’s “Greektown” section.

Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams said the story was being overblown.

“I have zero problems with Ty doing it,” Williams said Friday.

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Williams said he gambled earlier this year when his team came to Detroit to play Michigan State.

“It is legal,” Williams said. “I find it humorous that somebody would want to ask. . . . If we don’t want those kids doing it, don’t put a Final Four in a city where the casino is 500 yards from our front door. And they got a great buffet in there, I mean, come on.”

Lawson, 21, did not violate NCAA rules, but the NCAA has always taken a strong stance when it comes to gambling and its “student-athletes.”

The NCAA this year got the Caesars Windsor Casino, located across the Detroit River in Canada, to suspend betting on men’s Division I basketball betting this week.

NCAA President Myles Brand did not specifically address Lawson’s gambling trip at a Final Four news conference, but he said, in general, the practice should be highly discouraged.

“We do not permit anyone connected with intercollegiate athletics to gamble on sports, pro or college sports,” Brand said. “What a student does, plays bingo in his church, for example, while we discourage that, we prefer not to try and regulate that particular kind of activity.”

Bingo?

Masked man

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Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan, who broke his nose at last weekend’s Midwest Regional, has been fitted with a new mask.

“They made the eyes bigger so I can see out of my peripheral and things of that nature,” Morgan said. “It’s just a complete better fit for me.”

Just lucky?

Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo on making his fourth Final Four trip as Spartans’ Coach.

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“You’ve got to get lucky too,” Izzo said. “Some things have to fall your way to get this far in the tournament. . . . I’m hoping they’ll fall our way a couple more days.”

Remember 1985

It was 24 years ago that Villanova, in one of the great NCAA championship games, shocked Georgetown, 66-64, in Lexington, Ky. That Wildcats team was a No. 8-seeded team, while this year’s squad is a No. 3. But there are some recurring themes.

“I think everybody looks at us as the underdogs,” senior guard Shane Clark said. “We just go out there and try to play like that 1985 team. They were together, they played hard every game that they had. It was exciting to watch them play, and I hope that’s how it is for people when they watch us.”

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com


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