Score: No. 1 Louisville 82, No. 4 Michigan 76
Star(s): Louisville: Luke Hancock 22 Pts, 3 Ast. Michigan: Trey Burke 24 Pts, 4 Reb.
Story: In the end, it was Louisville’s hustle that ultimately wound up as the difference in the game. Despite Michigan shooting over 52% from the field, the Cardinals were able to scratch and claw their way to yet another come-from-behind victory. Louisville finished the game with more rebounds, assists, blocks and steals than Michigan – key stats in what was a very physical game.
The Wolverines came out on fire, and unheralded freshman Spike Albrecht hit his first four 3-point attempts on his way to a 17-point half. But in the first session’s final three minutes, Louisville was able to go on a 14-3 run to cut a 12-point deficit to just one. How? Luke Hancock, who would later win Final Four MOP, hit four 3-pointers in a row and seemingly couldn’t miss.
The second half was electric, with both teams trading the advantage for the first 15 minutes. But in crunch time, yet again, Louisville eventually wore down its opponent. Missed free throws, untimely fouls and a few jumpers from Gorgui Dieng put Michigan on the ropes, and Hancock provided the knock out blow with his fifth and final three ball of the night to put the Cardinals up ten. Michigan wouldn’t get back closer than four, and Rick Pitino had his first NCAA title with the Louisville Cardinals.
…but not without a few fireworks right after.