An impressive run through the NCAA tournament came up short for the Michigan Wolverines last night in Atlanta.
After running up a double digit lead in the first half, the Wolverines succumbed to Louisville’s pressure defense. The Cardinals kept up their hot shooting on offense and did just enough to put away Michigan down the stretch.
The final score: Louisville 82-Michigan 76.
The Wolverines did have some standout performances.
AP player of the year Guard Trey Burke had 24 points for Michigan (31-8). Little-used freshman Spike Albrecht added 17 points.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino not only won his second national title (his first was at rival Kentucky), he also was named to the basketball hall of fame today.
The Cardinals were joined at courtside by a player who’s grotesquely broken leg shocked, but also inspired his teammates during a pivotal tournament game against Duke.
Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware, on crutches after having surgery to repair his broken right leg, was cheered when he took his seat by the Louisville bench. Wearing his white No. 5 jersey, Ware sat beside the elevated court, facing the action, where he could prop up his injured leg on another chair.
His teammates wore T-shirts over their jerseys in pregame warm-ups with the words "Ri5e to the Occasion." A fan raised a sign which read "Rise for 5."
University of Michigan fans say they are proud of the team despite their loss to Louisville in the NCAA Championship.
The final score Monday night was 82-76.
The Wolverines' athletic department hosted a watch party at the home of Michigan basketball.
Ann Arbor resident John Paul says even though they lost today, the team has come very far from where they were a few years ago.
The Crisler Center was near its capacity over more than 12,000 people and the crowd was near-deafening at times.
Paul says he felt like he was in a room of 12,000 friends who felt the same way he did.
During the game, fans with blue and yellow t-shirts wore sunglasses with blinking lights and waved flags and pom-poms.
This was the first time in 20 years that Michigan played in the national title game. Members of that Fab Five squad were at the game last night.
Former five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber showed up at the Georgia Dome just about the time Michigan's starting lineup was being introduced before the Wolverines squared off against Louisville in Monday's night's national championship game.
CBS-TV showed Webber arriving at the Georgia Dome and exiting his car minutes before the game. He was wearing a UM hat.
Webber played on Michigan's 1992 and 1993 Final Four teams but a federal investigation revealed that a booster gave Webber and three non-Fab Five players more than $600,000 while they were student-athletes. The NCAA forced the school to dissociate from them until this year. The dissociation officially ends in May.
The attendance for Monday night's Louisville-Michigan game at the Georgia Dome is 74,326 - a record for a championship game.
The record may not last long. The 2014 Final Four will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Attendance there could reach 80,000.