From the Final Four to the Final Two. With only one #1 Seed left in the March Madness tournament, the Louisville Cardinals will contend against the 4 Seed Michigan Wolverines on Monday night for the 2012-2013 Men’s Basketball Championship. And what a Final it should be.
In the first game of the evening, #9 Wichita St. gave Louisville all they could handle. With a one point lead at the half, Wichita St. jumped out to a 12-point lead with 13-minutes to go, leading 47-35. Louisville tried to slow the Shockers by trying the half-court press but to no avail. Each time, Wichita St. broke the press and scored with jump shots and easy layups After seeing his first stringers struggling to get a rhythm, Coach Rick Pitino called on his bench to initiate some energy to their flat offensive team. That move proved to be the boost the Cardinals needed.
George Mason transfer Luke Hanson scored 13 points in 12-minutes to help lift Louisville from its shooting slump and provided them with the jump starting motivation needed to overcome what would have been a ‘Shocker’ of an upset. With Kevin Ware – whose season ended last week with the terrible compound fracture to his right leg in the game against Duke – barely able to look on at times on the sidelines, the Louisville Cardinals advanced to the Grand Finale, scheduled for Monday night. They held off Wichita St., 72-68 with clutch free throws in the waning seconds and now move on against the winner of the second game of the night, #4 Seed, Michigan Wolverines.
The Michigan Wolverines and #4 Seed Syracuse Orange was yet another epic game between two feisty and tenacious teams where the Wolverines jumped out to a 36-25 halftime lead. Mitch McGary didn’t lead the Wolverines in scoring but his contributions were gigantic because it helped Michigan overcome a stubborn Syracuse Orange defense by a 61-56.
McGary had just scored 10 points, but pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out a team-best six assists. He’d made shots from the high post and the block. He’s averaging 16 points and 11.6 rebounds a game during the NCAA tournament, and that includes an impressive stat line (25 points, 14 boards) against one of the nation’s best frontcourt player in Jeff Withey at Kansas. Tim Hardaway, Jr. added 13 points in the Wolverines victory. Syracuse was led by C. J. Fair’s 22 points but it wasn’t enough as the Michigan Wolverines punched their ticket for the Final dance of the Season against the Louisville Cardinals.
So the question was posted after the games ended. Can Louisville’s defense stifle the offensive threats of Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary?
Well, if the sons of their famous father’s Tim Hardaway and Glenn Robinson can get an early jump on Louisville and McGary has another good night as he did against the Orange, this game could swing in the favor of the Wolverine’s. They look pretty good at times but I still think the Louisville Cardinals are #1 for a reason. This will definitely be a great finish to one of the best March Madness title runs to date.
And with that said, I won’t crown them champions just yet but, it is the #1 Louisville Cardinals that are favored. I’m going with the Favored.
Oops, I guess I just crowned them Champions!0