2013 National Champion University Of Louisville Cardinals
The biggest game of the year in college basketball was ready to begin. Two programs fighting to retain a national title and once again claim supremacy in the land of college basketball. Louisville not winning since the Crum Era in 1986, and Michigan not winning since 1989, defeating Seton Hall. A new Final Four and National Championshipp attendance record was set so the stage could be no bigger. In perhaps one of the biggest games of these boy’s lives, the ball was thrown up, ready to crown a winner. Trey Burke got hot early and made the teams first seven points. Back and forth the momentum swung early, and it was immediately stated that this could be a classic game for the ages. With a fast paced tempo throughout the whole first half, the game seemed to fly by. However it was Michigan that began to separate, driving into the paint of the Louisville defense, eventually gaining an 8 point lead with the under 8 minute timeout being called. The major story of the half was Michigan bench player Spike Albrecht made 4 straight three pointers to give Michigan a 12 point lead. With the game slipping out of grasp, Luke Hancock played the hero role for Louisville and answered right back, scoring 4 three pointers of his own to regain the lead with 14.5 seconds left. After a trip to the line by Michigan, Louisville trailed by 1, 38-37.
UL got off to a quick start in the second half, with Chane Behanan hitting a three to regain the lead. After trading baskets, the Wolverines expanded to a 4 point lead before coach Rick Pitino decided to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Siva and Behanan provided two quick baskets to regain the lead with a little under 15 minutes left. With a three by Russ Smith after free throws by both teams, Louisville amounted their biggest lead of the game yet, with a 5 point advantage. This was the product of a 12-3 run. Peyton Siva was the main source of contribution, scoring 6 points as Louisville retained the lead. With Trey Burke going to the line for a possible And-1 play, the under 8 minute timeout was called, Louisville hanging on 63-60. With both teams shooting 54 percent, it seemed as if this game would come down to the last minutes. Throwing back to back lobs, both teams showed that they were in it for all 40 minutes. With a Dieng bucket, the cards were up by seven with under 5:00 to play. With time winding down, Louisville went into the TV break up 71-65. With a huge Hancock three coming out of the timeout, the Wolverines trailed by 8 with under 3 minutes to go. As time wounded down, Michigan began to chip away at the UL lead, cutting the lead to 4 with 1:11 left. With 29 seconds left and down by 4, Michigan began to foul. First sending Luke Hancock to the line, who stretched the lead to six. After getting a bucket inside the paint with 14.1 seconds left. Siva then went to the line with 12.9 seconds, hitting both free throws to advance the lead to 6 points. After a desperate heave by UM, it settled in, the Louisville Cardinals have returned to the promise land.
As the confetti fell, the fans cheered and the Cardinal bench erupted. Louisville has just won its first national championship since 1986. The team began to put their t-shirts and hats on, achieving the greatest accomplishment any of these young men could have dreamed of. Give Michigan all the credit in the world, a very young team that almost capped off an amazing run, and will certainly be back next year. However all the praise goes to every single person on the Cardinal team, from the trainers to the coaches, for an unequalled effort that resulted in a game that will last forever. Louisville will raise another banner for the first time in 27 years, and everybody, not only in the city of Louisville, but everybody who bleeds red, can now say that their team is the best. What an amazing ending to an amazing season. In the end we won for Ware, won for the city and won one for the ages.
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