If, like me your bracket was shot to shit by the sweet sixteen, having the team you picked to win make the final was awesome. Then, to prove to all that I am in fact omniscient, No. 1 seed the Louisville Cardinals brought the Maddest March ever to a close with a 82 – 76 win over the Michigan Wolverines at the Georgia Dome on Monday night. It was Louisville’s first National Title since the 80’s.
Michigan came out of the gates strong with Trey Burke hitting a three followed by a couple of short shots, racking up 7 points on the first 3 minutes and showing Louisville that they were here to play. Michigan stayed dominant for most of what can only be described as a spectacular first half. People were making unbelievable shots…that alley-oop from Peyton Siva to Montrezl Harrell late in the first half was just glorious.
Change came for Michigan with Trey Burke on the bench after 2 fouls. Spike Albrecht, a freshman Guard whose previous average was 1.8 points per game finished the first half with 17 points which guaranteed Michigan held the lead at 38 – 37 at the end of the half. Louisville, who had proved the game before versus Wichita State that they love a good comeback rallied, and rallied hard. When the teams left the floor at half time, Michigan who held a one point lead over Louisville, now looked like they were 10 points down. The damage was done.
The second half was much sloppier, but Louisville showed that their title as #1 defense in the country was well earned they were solid. Players like Chane Behanen who limited Mitch McGary whilst scoring 15 points in the second half and Luke Hancock with his 22 point haul which included four consecutive 3 pointers in the first half ensured that once Louisville took the lead, they kept it right until the end.
Oh, and Tim Hardaway Jr’s dunk in the second half…..EPIC!
Louisville Junior Luke Hancock – not your average bench player eh? Hancock who had transferred to Louisville from George Mason University virtually erased Spike Albrecht’s prolific scoring streak in the first half. His combined 42 points in Louisville’s wins over Wichita State and Michigan earned him the honor of being named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. How’s this for a kicker though? When Luke Hancock transferred from George Mason University he was tossing up between two schools…..Louisville and Michigan!
Trey Burke won the Naismith Award for most valuable college player, and it seems to me that he probably should have seen more time on the court, he was benched all but 6 minutes of the first half after some questionable calls and he finished the game with 24 points. Personally, I think not getting him back in the game sooner contributed to Michigan’s downfall.
Louisville coach, Rick Pitino knocked up a milestone of his own on Monday night when he became the first coach in NCAA history to win two National Titles via two different schools having now won with both Kentucky and Louisville. His paycheck for the year is rumored to be around the $6.1 million USD mark. It’s hard to be Rick.
And finally, the feel good portion of the game. Kevin Ware who suffered a badly broken leg after a horrific fall in Louisville’s game against Duke, was the one to cut down the net after the Cardinal’s win. Totally the right way to end the game.
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