Title game brings warning for UNC fans

CHAPEL HILL UNC will face Michigan State tonight for the NCAA championship game in Detroit.

If the Tar Heels can pull off a win, it would be the school's fifth title. A win would also mean chaos on Franklin Street.

UNC's basketball dynasty is all about tradition and that tradition includes the party after the victory. If the Heels clinch the title tonight, you can bet Franklin Street will quickly become party central -- filled with rowdy, rambunctious fans and of course, a little fire.

As a result, UNC and the NC Jaycee Burn Center have issued warnings through the Daily Tar Heel student newspaper and a You Tube video.

"It's really important that when we celebrate that no one gets hurt [so] that when the celebration is over every can go home," Dr. Bruce Cairns said.

Click here to watch Dr. Cairns' video message.

During the past two seasons, the Burn Center has seen 11 patients suffer serious burns from UNC celebrations.

While doctors watch out for potential injuries, local police are pulling out all the stops to make sure things do not get out of hand. This will be the second time UNC and Michigan State have met this season.

In December, the Heels walloped Michigan State 98-63. Tonight there's more than bragging rights on the line.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Governor Beverly Perdue have a bet going. The losing team's governor must be photographed enjoying tasty treats from the winning state.

The losing governor also will have to wear the winning team's jersey and hat in the picture.

The wagers and warning for celebrating crowds are not the only things associated with the big game.

When the Heels hit the court, the points on the board will also boost the local economy. Forbes magazine recently estimated the Tar Heel's basketball program is worth $25.9 million.

Carolina blue sportswear is the biggest seller among all Atlantic Coast Conference schools for the 13th consecutive year.

That's good news for local shops that sell the gear. It's also good news for a school, like many that are facing deep budget cuts in the recession.

UNC championship gear raked in nearly $600,000 in sales after its 2005 victory -- its money that adds up to much needed scholarship funds.

The title game will be shown on a large projection screen and all four video boards with tipoff slated for 9:21 p.m.

Entrance A of the Smith Center will be open to UNC students, faculty and staff (with a valid UNC One Card) at 8 p.m. The general public will be allowed to enter at 8:30 p.m.

Fans are also welcome to visit the UNC Basketball Museum from 6-9 p.m.

Last week the Town of Chapel Hill released information for businesses and fans regarding tonight's game.

Rules for people:

  • No parking in the 100 block of Franklin Street after 3:30 p.m.
  • Cars parked in that area will be towed at 7 p.m.
  • No alcohol in the 100 block of Franklin St.

Business suggestions:

  • Stopped selling Carolina blue paint last week
  • Alcohol should only be sold in paper and plastic cups or cans
  • Remove/secure awnings and signs
  • Secure rooftops and rooftop doors

Street closures:

  • Franklin Street closed from Raleigh to Mallette
  • Columbia Street closed from Cameron to Rosemary
  • The Chapel Hill Police Department says Franklin Street will remain open to the public until the crowd size dictates otherwise

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