Siva lifts Louisville by Michigan for NCAA title

Posted April 09, 2013, at 12:35 a.m.
Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) celebrates with forward Chane Behanan after beating Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA men's basketball final Monday night in Atlanta.
Robert Deutsch | USA TODAY Sports
Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) celebrates with forward Chane Behanan after beating Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA men's basketball final Monday night in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — Louisville took Michigan’s best shot and survived. The Cardinals are the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball champions.

Senior point guard Peyton Siva and tournament star Luke Hancock each had dynamic games, leading Louisville, the tournament’s overall top seed, to an 82-76 win Monday night over the fourth-seeded Wolverines.

Siva dazzled with his ball-handling and slashing ability. He finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Hancock lit it up from outside, connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, a part of the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame class, becomes the first coach to win a national championship at two different schools. He guided Kentucky to the 1996 title.

A Georgia Dome-record crowd of 74,326 was treated to a fantastic back-and-forth national championship game that capped what was considered a down year for college basketball. Stars and unheralded reserves for both teams hit big shots. There were alley-oop dunks and plenty of 3-pointers, fueling an electric atmosphere.

Hancock’s last 3-pointer from the left corner put Louisville up by 10 with 3:13 to play. Michigan got back to within 78-74 with 50.1 seconds to play, but the Cardinals hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the school’s first national championship since 1986 and third overall.

National player of the year Trey Burke was terrific for Michigan, despite early foul trouble. So was his backup, freshman Michael “Spike” Albrecht, who had 17 points, all in a remarkable first-half performance.

Burke finished with a game-high 24 for the Wolverines.

Louisville started to take control early in the second half. Russ Smith’s corner 3-pointer put the Cardinals up 52-46 with 13 minute to go.

Pitino shuffled players in and out throughout the game, and Louisville’s relentless pressure seemed to wear down Michigan in the second half. However, fouls mounted on the Cardinals. Michigan was in the double bonus for the game’s final 4 1/2 minutes. It didn’t matter. Louisville just had too many weapons.

Hancock finished with 22 points, and Chane Behanan added 15 for the Cardinals.

Burke started hot, scoring the Wolverines’ first seven points, but he picked up his second foul with 11 minutes left in the first half. Enter Albrecht, a freshman reserve whose season high was seven points. He hit all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 in the first half.

Albrecht’s weaving layup put Michigan up 33-21 and forced Pitino to call timeout with 3:51 to play in the first half.

The Cardinals responded with a 14-3 run, fueled by Hancock, who scored Louisville’s next 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

After leading by 12 with just under four minutes left in the first half, Michigan went to the locker room only up one, 38-37.

GAME NOTES: Ex-Michigan star Chris Webber was in attendance, sitting next to his former Wolverine teammates Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard. … Pitino is the fifth coach to take two different schools to the national championship game. … The teams combined to shoot 48.1 percent from the field in the first half, including 57.8 percent from the 3-point arc. Louisville finished at 45.9 percent overall, 50 percent on 3-pointers. Michigan hit 52.1 percent of its shots, 44.4 percent of its 3s. … McGary and Glenn Robinson III each entered Monday’s game shooting better than 60 percent from the floor in the tournament. … Pitino improved to 6-0 in the Georgia Dome.

TOURNEY NOTEBOOK: Albrecht had never scored in double figures. He had hit his first nine 3-point attempts in the Tournament before coming up short on an attempt early in the first half. … All five member of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five” class were on hand for the game. … Behanan added 12 rebounds and Dieng finished with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks to help make up for a sub-par game from Russ Smith. The star guard was held to nine points on 3-of-16 shooting — the first time he had failed to reach 20 points in the NCAA Tournament.

Final Four ratings

CBS averaged a 9.4 fast-national Nielsen rating and 15.7 million viewers for the Final Four doubleheader Saturday, USA Today reported Monday.

The rating was the highest since the 2005 Final Four.

The games between Louisville-Wichita State and Michigan-Syracuse were up four percent and three percent, respectively, from an overall 9.0 rating and 15.3 million viewers last year.

Individually, the Louisville-Wichita State matchup had an 8.7 rating and 14.5 million viewers, up from last year’s Kentucky-Louisville matchup in the early primetime spot. Michigan-Syracuse got a 10.2 rating and 17.1 million viewers, an increase over last year’s late evening game between Kansas and Ohio State.

Burke wins Naismith Trophy

Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke added another national player of the year honor on Sunday when he was named the winner of the Naismith Trophy,

Burke had already won the Associated Press, Wooden and Robertson player of the year awards earlier this weekend.

The other finalists for the Naismith award were Doug McDermott (Creighton), Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Otto Porter Jr. (Georgetown).

Burke was the only one of the finalist to play in the NCAA final.

NCAA notebook

Rutgers announced Monday that Carl Kirschner will take over as interim athletic director.

Kirschner, former dean of Rutgers, was interim AD in 2009 after Bob Mulcahy was fired.

Tim Pernetti stepped down as AD last week in the wake of a scandal involving fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice.

Rice was initially suspended for three games after ESPN aired video footage of him kicking and shoving players, throwing basketballs at players and taunting them with homophobic language during practice.

After public outcry, Rutgers fired Rice and Pernetti stepped down.

Kirschner will remain in the AD role while the school searches for a permanent replacement.

It is not clear how long the school will take to find a new AD as it is also looking for a successor to Rice.

The Star-Ledger also reported that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is expected to have a role in the AD search. Rutgers is moving from the Big East to the Big Ten in 2014.

A possible list of candidates includes Wisconsin deputy athletic director Sean Frazier, Michigan State deputy athletic director Greg Ianni, Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore, Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw and former Rutgers deputy athletic director Kevin MacConnell.

Rutgers also announced Monday that it is commissioning an independent review regarding the conduct of Rice and how it handled the situation after learning about Rice’s behavior during practice.

The school said its Board of Governors will meet on Thursday to discuss hiring an independent adviser to investigate the scandal.

Board chairman Ralph Izzo said that board member Mark P. Hershhorn saw the video of Rice abusing players in December when it discussed the coach’s conduct during a committee meeting that month.

 

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