The bracket says North Carolina versus Michigan State. At times, though, the Tar Heels may feel like they’re going up against something more than another basketball team. From the coach on down, the Spartans know a win in the NCAA title game on a court 110 kilometres from their campus won’t fix the state’s economic freefall, won’t put anybody back to work. But there will be 72,000 people in Ford Field, site of the Final Four, tonight (9 p.m., The Score).

Most will be rooting for Michigan State. “When you go through hard times, you pray for something to get you out,” Spartans guard Travis Walton said. “I’m sure they didn’t pray for Michigan State to get to the Final Four, but they probably have been praying to have things to take their mind off of it.”