NCAA championship game blog
Louisville looked the latest Cinderella story right in the eye, then smashed it like a glass slipper.
Louisville guard Kevin Ware, on crutches with a broken leg, cuts down the net.AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Maybe that's the tattoo Rick Pitino will get now.
Louisville senior point guard Peyton Siva gave Naismith Award winner Trey Burke a physical battle, after Luke Hancock kept Louisville alive with 16 of his 22 points in the first half. The Cards completed their "Win for Ware" quest in honor of injured teammate Kevin Ware, who got to cut down the net despite being on crutches with a broken leg, as the rim was lowered to him.
"I had the 13 toughest guys I ever coached," said Pitino, who became the first coach to win titles at more than one school.
Afterward, Pitino, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier in the day, said he'd fulfill a promise he made to the players: win the championship and he'd get a tattoo.
Surprised? We weren't. FOXSports.com college basketball columnist Reid Forgrave predicted Louisville would win, and we somehow foresaw Pitino's ink:
It's the third championship for Louisville, and first since 1986. For Trey Burke and Michigan, it's the disappointing end to an amazing season.
Siva scored most of his 18 points in the second half. Hancock, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, kept Louisville in it in the first half to rally the Cards from a 12-point deficit, and drew a fourth foul on Michigan big man Mitch McGary that sent him to the bench with nine minutes left in the game.
Albrecht was on fire in the first half, scoring 17 points from out of nowhere.
Albrecht averages 1.8 points a game. Played a career-high 15 minutes at Michigan State (Feb. 12) and vs. VCU (March 23) in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Started on the bench now I'm here. Lol twitter.com/OfficialBraylo…— Braylon Edwards (@OfficialBraylon) April 9, 2013
Albrecht hit 6 of his first 7 shots while going 4 of 4 on 3's. He set a tourney record for consecutive makes without a miss, hitting his first nine dating back to March 3.
Don't leave the clean cut white boy open. #spikethegoat— Braylon Edwards (@OfficialBraylon) April 9, 2013
But Albrecht was shut out in the second half.
Charles Barkley praised Pitino, saying he "called a couple great timeouts to stop momentum."
Burke, who struggled against Syracuse in the Final Four, had seven early points but sat for 12 minutes after picking up his second foul, allowing Louisville to get back in it and drawing criticism of Beilein from Greg Anthony and Doug Gottlieb.
"You can't win a game in the first half, but you can lose it," Gottlieb said.
Burke finished with a game-high 24 points, but could never regain the momentum for Michigan.
Chris Webber not pictured, but the Fab Five were in the building and back together for the first time since 1993.
Louisville fans showing support for Kevin Ware:
And some just showing support ... in their own way.
Michigan fans stormed the Georgia Dome.
C-WEBB IN THE HOUSE
Webber was at the game after all, after Jalen Rose called him out Monday morning, announcing that all the members of Michigan's famed Fab Five but Webber had committed to appearing at the Georgia Dome to cheer on the Wolverines.
"I could understand if he was homeless and living under a bridge," Rose said on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" show, but Webber lives in Atlanta and works for the host network, he noted.
Webber has been estranged from Michigan since a booster scandal stung the school with sanctions, which included banning him from contact with the program for 10 years. That ban officially ends next month, but Webber attended the game as a fan.