Volume beat quality as Louisville took down a game Michigan squad, 82-76, to earn their 3rd national championship and 1st under Rick Pitino in what will likely go down as one of the best played national championship games of all-time.
Why say volume was the difference? Perhaps because the Cardinals were able to get off 13 more field goal attempts, going 28-61 (45.9%) for the game versus Michigan's 25-48 (52.1%).
Yep, this game literally came down to who could take the most shots as the Cardinals and Wolverines both made the same amount of three-pointers (8) and free throws (18) in this classic battle from start to finish.
Guard play mattered big time, but it wasn't Trey Burke and his game high 24 points that would be the key to the game. Instead it was Louisville's bench to stud, Luke Hancock, and his 22 points that would be the key difference in the win.
It was also a battle of two of the best benches in all of college basketball and while Michigan had some great play from Spike Albrecht in the 1st half, it was Luke Hancock and his consistent play all game long that won it for Louisville.
From a Big Ten perspective it was hard not to love the first half and hate the 2nd. Why? Two words… Spike Albrecht.
The first half ended 38-37 in one of the most entertaining halves of basketball seen in some time, mainly thanks to two names – Spike Albrecht and Luke Hanson – who were bit players at best heading into the tournament. Instead both decided to shine on the grandest stage of them all.
Albrecht went 6-7 from the field and had 17 points, while Luke Hanson hit 4 straight trey's and was 4-5 from the free throw line for 16 points in one of the craziest one-on-one battles in quite some time. They were the only two players in double figures in the 1st half.
It wasn't just them either as Trey Burke kicked this game off right with a layup followed by a defensive rebound and a three-pointer of his own en route to 7 points before foul trouble took him out of the rest of the half, playing just six minutes in the half.
Just how crazy was the first half? Well, when you thought you had it figured out you didn't. Case in point – the final five minutes of the half.
Michigan was up by 12 points at 35-23 with 3:24 left in the half, and that's when Luke Hancock and the Cardinals made their run to get back in the game going on a 14-3 run to end the half down just one point.
Michigan shot 50% from the field (14-28) and Louisville nearly matched them, shooting 12-26 (46.2%) themselves in that crazy half.
In the 2nd half the game turned from a three-point shooting contest into an all-out mosh pit inside. The Cardinals had 6 more points in the paint for the game (34-28) and thanks to a combination of tenacious play, some great slashing from Peyton Siva, and the refs swallowing their whistles the Cardinals were able to take the game over.
No one was a bigger example of this than Chane Behanan and his double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
In a game like this there are winners and losers on the final scoreboard, but no one can hang their heads. Both teams let it all out on the court and as fans, damn was that an amazing piece of college basketball history to be a witness to.