Louisville Knocks Out Michigan To Win Their First National Championship In 27 Years

After having one of their family members break his leg in half right in front of their bench, it was only fitting that this tournament, this season would end with the Louisville Cardinals winning a championship for the school (its first in 27 years), for Rick Pitino (who found out yesterday he’ll be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame), and for Kevin Ware (for obvious reasons). … There are two ways to look at the Cardinals 82-76 victory over Michigan. One way is you can say the ‘Ville wore them down, constant high screen-n-rolls slicing up their defense so often that by the end of the second half, it felt like it was about to burst. Or two is you can say the Wolverines got screwed by two important, and timely calls. The first of the two came with Louisville up three with five minutes left. Trey Burke (24 points) got all Spalding against Peyton Siva (18 points, four steals) on a fast break. It should be remembered as one of the best blocks of the season by a tiny guard. Instead, they called a foul, the free throws went, and it sparked a 9-2 run for Louisville. Then a few minutes later, with the Cards nursing a four-point cushion and only 50 seconds left, Michigan’s last real breath was snatched from them when Chane Behanan went over the back, directly leading to Caris LeVert ending up out of bounds on a rebound. Still miles away from the bonus, you could’ve made yourself a sandwich and gotten back in time before Louisville finally went to the line. … But take away those calls and the Cards still just wore them down, getting contributions from everyone. Luke Hancock (22 points) seemed to cash every big shot, Gorgui Dieng had a couple buckets (and slick dimes) in the lane during key moments, and Behanan lived on the glass (15 points, 12 boards) late in the game. On the other side, Michigan’s whole offense depended on Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. … Speaking of Hardaway Jr., he had the play of the game with 10 minutes to go, going down the lane and smashing all over Dieng’s face. We’re not sure who had better response: his dad in the stands or Clark Kellogg sounding like he just jammed his finger in a doorway. … Just minutes later, Siva caught an insane lob, reaching back over his shoulder to put one down in the half-court. … Despite the loss, the most jaw dropping performance of the night came from Spike Albrecht (17 points). It wasn’t that he couldn’t miss… it was that he wasn’t even hitting the rim. Before the game, he’d made just nine triples all year. By the end of this one, Steve Kerr tried calling him Spike Nash as the point guard sparked a big first half run that gave his squad an early 12-point lead, a lead that disappeared in like… 25 seconds (it was actually more like a couple of minutes, but it didn’t feel that way). Let’s hope we never hear that nickname again. … The Fab “Four” was in the house together last night, with Jalen Rose rocking the Wolverine mini helmet and Juwan Howard looking like the youngest 88-year-old we’ve ever seen. Where was Chris Webber? Well, after Rose called him out for thinking about not showing up (Webber wants to distance himself from the school after the infamous timeout and then all that happened later with the scandal), C-Webb finally did come through. He posted this picture on Twitter, but it still didn’t seem like they were all together. Rose, Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King were down near the bench — Webber was up in the clouds. … Along with Pitino, it was officially announced yesterday that Gary Payton, Bernard King and Jerry Tarkanian will be getting inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. All of them are deserving, and all of them are legends in one regard or another, with Payton being the king of trash talk, King winning the “best player the casual fan has never heard of” and the Shark proving it’s possible to sustain yourself on sweaty towels. … And in the NBA, it’s not too often you get a couple of teammates talking Mad Men, but when they do, it’s pretty funny. … We’re out like a Fab Five reunion.

For breaking news, rumors, exclusive content, and contests sent right to your inbox, sign up here for the Dime Email Newsletter.

Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook