|ESPN.com: Dick Vitale||[Print without images]|
ATLANTA -- The fans in attendance at the Georgia Dome were treated to something special. Louisville and Michigan played an exciting basketball game with a great pace.
In the end, Louisville got to cut down the nets, winning its first title since 1986 by beating the Wolverines, 82-76.
Peyton Siva was brilliant in the second half, with great penetration to the basket. His quickness was a big difference. Chane Behanan was a force on the glass, scoring inside. He finished with a double-double as the Cardinals went to him more often.
The first half was quite a show between Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock. Are you serious? The two combined for 39 points and hit eight of the nine 3-point attempts between them.
Albrecht came into the game averaging less than two points per contest, with a career high of seven. He had 17 of Michigan's first 33 points. He made 3-pointers, drove to the basket, made great moves. The diaper dandy from Indiana looked more like a kid from French Lick named Bird. Albrecht provided quality minutes when Wooden Award winner Trey Burke had two fouls less than nine minutes into the game.
Then there was Mr. Hancock, the transfer from George Mason. With his Cardinals down 35-23, he hit four straight trifectas to get his team back in the game. It was reminiscent of Tim Henderson's back-to-back 3-pointers in a rally against Wichita State.
I loved the show of sportsmanship between Burke and Siva at the end of the game. There was great respect between the two. Burke played his heart out but his Wolverines came just short.
Congratulations to Rick Pitino, a Hall of Famer who became the first coach to win titles at two different schools.
Louisville cut down the nets because of guys like Hancock and Siva. It was a great story dedicated to Kevin Ware. What a great way to end the season.