Quick Hit: Michigan denied first title since 1989

Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas & Tim Hardaway Jr.

With Trey Burke saddled with foul trouble, Michigan was fueled in the first half by none other than Spike Albrecht, who had 17 points. Yes, 17 points. That helped the Wolverines hold a 38-37 halftime cushion, although it could have been more as they led by as many as 12 points. But Louisville turned up the heat in the second half, outscoring Michigan, 45-38, and holding Albrecht scoreless to win its third national championship (1980 and 1986).

What it means: Rick Pitino became the first coach ever to win national titles at two different schools. The Big Ten is still without a national title since Michigan State won it all in 2000 behind Mateen Cleaves. Each team shot well, as Michigan hit 52 percent of its shots (44 percent from 3-point range) and the Cards hit 45 percent (50 from beyond the arc). But Louisville grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and won the turnover battle, 12-9.

Key moment: Gorgui Dieng hit a layup to make it 71-64 with 4:50 left, giving Louisville its biggest lead of the game to that point. The Cardinals never looked back and held on for the victory as three players scored in double-figures led by Luke Hancock’s 22 points. Time and again, Louisville got to the rim for good looks—and converted.

Key player: Was this Trey Burke’s last game? If so, he left it all on the court. He scored Michigan’s first seven points but then was hit with foul trouble that relegated him to the bench for most of the opening 20 minutes. But Burke came on after intermission and finished with a game-high 24 points. The sophomore hit 7-of-11 shots (3-of-5 from 3-point land) with four rebounds and three assists. But, it wasn’t enough. Michigan still hasn’t won a national title since 1989.

Key number: 6, points by Michigan big man Mitch McGary. He also had six rebounds but shot no free throws. It was a big drop from his production throughout the first five games of the NCAA tourney, as he averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds entering tonight’s title game.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Show Comments (5 Comments)
JoJo Legeaux on 4/9/2013 @ 12:45am EDT Said:

Key moment was the absolutely terrible call of a foul on Burke’s block. It was a three point game at that time, clean block means we’re going the other way. Instead, a terrible foul call gives Louisville 2 shots, and they make both. Game changer.

Doug on 4/9/2013 @ 11:10am EDT Said:

Hey JoJo, always blame the refs, it’s the Michigan way. Spike scored 17 pts which will never happen again, and if Ware was playing for UL, it wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

Delmar Jones on 4/9/2013 @ 11:44am EDT Said:

The game was probably lost to Michigan in the first half when Michigan coach did not put Trey Burke back in the game to settle the team down. Hardaway Jr. had a hard time playing defense last night and who ever he was put on defensively had know trouble scoring. Let’s get back to the coach who I think the moment was to big for and it showed in the second half. McGary who had played so well in the other games was not effective because he never got the ball and the officials let the Cards ruff up the young Wolverines. Trey Burke was the only Michigan player that did not let the ruff play affect his game. The call against Burke was bad but I think experience and maturity did Michigan in more than anything else, Look they had a great season and they have nothing to feel bad about.

Reality Check on 4/9/2013 @ 12:13pm EDT Said:

Doug , don’t forget that great Wolverine role model Rumeal Robinson he won it all for Michigan back in the day. Its too bad Rumeal could not be there to watch the game last night.

Doug on 4/9/2013 @ 2:42pm EDT Said:

yep the 89 team was a great team that didn’t cheat, they should of been there instead of the banned unfabulous 5. Delmar, good point, beilein was definitely outcoached by pitino.