The Louisville Cardinals are champions of college basketball after defeating the Naismith Player of the Year Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines 82-76 in Atlanta.
The Cardinals trailed the majority of the first half, falling behind by as many as 12 points. A late run in the first half, including four threes from Luke Hancock to end the first half, cut the deficit to one. Michigan got out to a hot start thanks to freshman guard Spike Albrecht, who scored 17 points in the first half. Albrecht was held in check the remainder of the game, scoring zero points in the second half. Louisville forward and the Final Four’s most outstanding player Luke Hancock scored a career high 22 points, including 5-5 from downtown.
Trey Burke was sidelined for the most of the first half due to two early fouls against him. Despite being held in check in the first half, Burke would finish the game with 24 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The second half was a completely different story. Michigan couldn’t contain Louisville from going to the basket and corral rebounds. Louisville scored 22 points in the paint and 13 points in transition in the second half. Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan scored 24 of the 34 points in the paint for Louisville. The Cardinals took 23 of their 35 shots in the second half from inside the paint. Behanan gave Michigan all kinds of problems on the glass, grabbing twelve rebounds, seven of them being on the offensive glass.
Michigan Coach John Beilein said that Louisville is extremely talented and agile.
Rick Pitino became the first in NCAA history to coach a National Championship-winning team with two different schools. The first championship for Pitino came when he was the head coach Kentucky in 1996. Coach Pitino said the game was one for the ages.
With the win Louisville notched its third national championship (1980, 1986, 2013). Injured Cardinal guard Kevin Ware was on hand to celebrate with his team. Ware had the net lowered so he could get in on the cutting of the nets, a Final Four tradition. Michigan is now 0-5 in National Championship games.