The University of Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 for the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship on Monday in Atlanta. The game was a frenetic, high-flying game with scoring runs from both teams, lead changes, white kids that couldn’t miss and some questionable refereeing. Michigan guard Spike Albrecht went from bench-warmer to big man on campus in five minutes by going 4-4 from 3 and being lethal from long, long range. Not to be outdone, Louisville’s MOP (Most Outstanding Player) Luke Hancock scored 14 points on his own to bring Louisville back into the game in the first half. If Hancock had not shot like he did, Louisville may have played themselves into a hole from which they wouldn’t escape. Michigan’s foul trouble, Beilein’s decisions on leaving Trey Burke out for the majority of the first half were costly in the end. Louisville was the stronger, more physical team and their defense and drive – along with Rick Pitino’s coaching – won them the game.
This is how college basketball should be played. It was a break from the 52-45 scores and the slowly methodical play of most teams today. This title game was tremendous for the same reason Florida Gulf Coast was – it was actually fun to watch. It isn’t a poor reflection on your program if you score 80. And in a year of apparent parity, the two teams that made the championship game were the overall number 1 seed and a B1G Ten team who had been number 1 in the country during the regular season. It came down to the talent of the players and the caliber of coaches. Louisville and Michigan were the best teams this year, and they showed that in the title game.
Rick Pitino has had a damn good week. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, his son became the coach of Minnesota, he won his Final Four game, his team rebounded from the horrific injury of a starter, and he won the NCAA Championship – becoming the first head coach to win a title at two different schools. He also owns a percentage of a racehorse that won the Santa Anita Derby, a prerequisite and automatic qualifier into Pitino’s hometown horse race, the Kentucky Derby. Pitino won a title at Kentucky and Louisville, and with John Calipari’s recruiting prowess and recent success (2011 National Championship) to back him up, the state of Kentucky has won the last two basketball titles and will be favorites for next year’s. Pitino has also said that he promised his team if he won, he’d get a tattoo. Potential Pitino tattoos include: An angry looking cardinal with teeth, #Win4Ware, Ciao Italia and “This is Long Island, bitch.”
National Player of the Year – both Wooden and Naismith Award winner – Trey Burke is very sad. Overall, he had an average to bad tournament, but shined in the championship game. But for a Columbus, Ohio kid who went to Michigan, I can imagine that this image will make a few people in the Buckeye State very happy. Burke will go in the NBA and take his talents to Minnesota or Milwaukee or Orlando or somewhere, but this memory will live on. Michigan should hang a Final Four banner and should be proud of their season, they were just outcoached and outplayed by Louisville. The first Michigan team to make the Final Four since the “Fab Five” ended their journey the same way that Chris Webber and Jalen Rose did in the ’90s – with a loss.
Kevin Ware broke his leg, went on Letterman and inspired his team. One of the great moments in the tournament was when the Georgia Dome nets were lowered and Kevin Ware cut down the net himself. He’s never taking it off. #Win4Ware
Peyton Siva’s dad is an awesome bruddah man. If he could wear this exact outfit to the NBA Draft, it’d be outstanding.