March Madness Recap

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College basketball definitely put the madness in March during the 2013 NCAA tournament. This year’s tournament was action packed full of overwhelming achievements and heartbreaking upsets. In part one of the NCAA tournament article series, we talked about all the teams participating in this year’s tournament. 68 teams set out to make history for their school and after three weeks of Cinderella stories, high flying dunks, and unprecedented records, the NCAA championship came down to number one Louisville and number four Michigan. Before we get into the finals, let’s recap some of the highlights leading up to this monumental showdown.

In the second waves of play, the top 32 teams competed against each other in the sweet 16. Notable wins playing in the sweet sixteen include Wichita State, La Salle, Arizona, Ohio State, Indiana, Syracuse, Marquette, Miami, Louisville, Oregon, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast. Syracuse surprised Indiana by defeating the number one team and advancing to the elite eight. Michigan also upset number one Kansas. Other teams that advanced to the elite eight include Wichita State, Ohio State, Marquette, Louisville, Duke, and Florida. Now we get down to what we have all been waiting for, what people spent weeks making brackets for, watching hours upon hours of college basketball for… the Final Four. Unless you picked Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan, and Syracuse in your final four bracket, your bracket probably did not make it.

This brings us to our final game. Louisville versus Michigan. This was the first time the two teams squared off in NCAA championship history. With Louisville’s fast-pace, coupled with an athletic team and deep bench made them the tournament favorite to win. Michigan did not seem too intimidated by their opponent and brought their own strengths to the championship, including facing a wide variety of opponents thus far, giving them exposure to a great range of playing styles. This exposure seemed to give Michigan the early edge.  During the first half of the game, Michigan took the lead and appeared to be heading for an upset. Michigan’s lead seemed to be a combination of successful shot selection and connecting with those shots, as well as one of Louisville’s key players, guard Kevin Ware, being unable to play due to sustaining a broken leg during the game against Duke in the elite eight. After being ahead by as much as ten points, Luke Hancock of Louisville played a major role in his team’s comeback by connecting with four three-point shots. Despite Luke Hancock and the Louisville Cardinal’s efforts, Michigan barely held on to their lead going into the half up by one point. Louisville came out the gate at second half to tie the game within one minute of second half starting play. After seven minutes of back and forth play, Louisville took the lead and never looked back. While Michigan guard led all scorers with 24 points, it was not enough to get the win for his team. With Louisville’s victory over Michigan, this was head coach Rick Pitino’s first championship win with Louisville and second career NCAA Championship victory.