Thank goodness I’m not a professional journalist with a deadline or anything, because I needed 24 hours to fully digest the Michigan/Louisville championship we all watched Monday night. Call me crazy, but I actually watched it again and I’m still left with the same thought, “What a game!”
This was an epic championship game. It had everything! Player of the year, Hall of Fame coach, team playing for a fallen teammate, role players stepping up huge, the Fab 5 kinda reunited, momentum swings, questionable coaching decisions (I’ll delve into that later), big dunks, lots of 3’s!
All this game was missing was a buzzer beater, a power outage, and a streaker…
Other than that, you really got everything you could’ve asked for.
As I predicted in my Final Four post, we got the uptempo flow that allowed the guards to do what they do best. And the guard play was magnificent, with Peyton “All I want for my birfday” Siva and Trey Burke going at it.
Then “the Others”, as Shaq likes to call them, stepped up. Honestly, did any of you know who Spike Albrecht was before he went H.A.M. in the 1st half?
Not too many people knew who Luke Hancock was until the Kevin Ware game. While everyone else was crying and falling out because they had just seen their teammate’s leg rip open, Hancock flew off the bench and was there with Ware comforting him as the medical staff worked on him. His poise under pressure showed then and definitely showed in the Final Four. No way the Cards take this without Cool Hand Luke leading the charge. Especially at the end of the 1st half.
The game was not without some great plays. The two that come to mind are Hardway, Jr’s dunk over Dieng…
I didn’t know he had this in him!
And the Siva alley oop to Harrell late in the half…
Incredible court awareness by Siva
Which brings me to the questionable coaching moves. I think Coach Bielien is going to 2nd guess himself for a long tme after this one. 12 point lead late in the half and I get it, you don’t want Burke picking up his 3rd foul and Spike was doing his thing. But you’ve got the player of the year on your squad. You see the Ville making a run. You’ve got to call timeout, get Burke back in that game to settle the team down, and leave him in until halftime. He got killed by the CBS crew and rightfully so. They had Louisville on the ropes and he rode the Spike Express a tad too long.
The other screw up came late in the game. Growing up playing ball, we were always taught that you’ve got to know score, time, and situation. Under a minute, you’re down and Louisville wasn’t in the bonus yet. If it’s me, I’m fouling so we can extend the game. You’ve seen it before, a minute in a basketball game can be an eternity. Michigan wasted damn near 30 seconds because they didn’t foul, trying not to foul good FT shooters. But no one was shooting yet! Why are you waiting?!?!
I love Beilien but those two coaching errors may have cost them the title.
As for the good coaching moves, how about Pitino running some plays for Chane Behanan. Behanan is a grown-ass man and once he got a few touches inside, he seemed to get a lot more active. His physicality really changed the tone of the game and he just wore Michigan down.
This was definitely the best championship game since Memphis/Kansas 2008. I know the Duke/Butler game came down to the final buzzer, but that wasn’t a great game to watch. Most of the stars showed out in this one. If this wasn’t Masters week, I’d probably watch it again.
Now we get ready for National Signing Day and the NBA Playoffs. Basketball never stops!
– N.D. Face
- Louisville’s Electric Night in NCAA Final (keepingscore.blogs.time.com)
- Louisville Beats Michigan 82-76 for NCAA Title (nbcmiami.com)
- Louisville Beats Michigan, 82-76, to Win National Championship (bleacherreport.com)