Alright, I’ll admit: I’m a little late on the recap of the biggest game of the college basketball season because I got sucked up into the celebrations on campus. I bleed blue to the core, more than most of you probably ever have (and I’ll bet on that). But, being a student at Louisville, the celebrations were somewhat inevitable. As for the game, it was one of the better championship games in the past few years, probably the best since Kansas came from behind to defeat Memphis in 2008.
Michigan set the tempo early and got out to a quick start, playing at Louisville’s pace and pushing the ball in transition every time, which led to some easy points. Freshman Spike Albrecht scored 17 points and was perfect from beyond the arc, helping to lead Michigan after Trey Burke was benched with two fouls. Albrecht hit four straight threes and eventually the Wolverines found their way to a 33-21 lead in the first half. But the Cardinals fought back, thanks to Luke Hancock’s 16 points in the first half and closed out on a 16-5 run to narrow Michigan’s lead to 38-37.
The second half found the game to be just as close the rest of the way, with Michigan jumping out to a short lead before the Cardinals took over thanks to clutch baskets by Chane Behanan and Russ Smith. Michigan made it within 63-61 after the 8 minute timeout, before UofL controlled the boards and scored to take the lead for good. Despite shooting 52 percent, Michigan lost the game due to the lack of offensive rebounds (15, UofL- 8 UofM), especially in the second half. The Cards also had nine steals to Michigan’s three and nine turnovers to Michigan’s 12, and that was enough to make the difference.
Luke Hancock, the transfer from George Mason who isn’t even a starter, was named the Most Outstanding Player, finishing with 22 points while Peyton Siva chipped in 18. Michigan’s Trey Burke led all scorers with 24 points. At the end of the night, yes, Louisville did win. It is the third national title all time for the school. Let little brother enjoy the spotlight this one time, and remind them that this is how it feels to be a Kentucky fan. Also, remind yourself, no matter how much it hurts you, that the title remains within the Bluegrass State. Not at the right school, but at least its not in the Hoosier State. And to leave you with a lasting image: I congratulated one of many in the crowd on the title win. Not only did I try to be the bigger person by reaching out for a handshake to congratulate little brother, but I was given a solid reminder that my hands shouldn’t be touched because I bleed blue. I hope that young man gets a stern reminder of who the better team wins next year when the Cards reach out to the Cats after a loss.