ATLANTA – “March Madness” never lived up to its name more than its final chapter.
For 40 minutes Louisville and Michigan engaged in an offensive display of power and speed that left the record crowd at the Georgia Dome in suspense.
But in the end it was the Cardinals, full of experience and talent and playing for an injured teammate, that had enough to take the classic.
Rick Pitino’s Louisville team defeated Michigan 82-76 to win the national title on Monday night in Atlanta. The Cardinals rallied from 12 down in the first half and a one-point halftime deficit to win the title.
For Louisville, its their first national championship since 1986 while Michigan has now lost three national title games in a row, having dropped the 1992 and 1993 championship contests.
The game was played in front of an NCAA title game record of 74,326.
Final Four Most Outstanding Player Luke Hancock led Louisville with 22 points while Peyton Siva had 18 as the Cardinals outscored the Wolverines 45-38 in the second half to come home with the victory. Trey Burke, winner of the Naismith Award for the nation’s best player, led all scorers with 24 points while Crown Point native Spike Albrecht surprised many with 17 first half points.