The University of Michigan was led by “The Fab Five” in this very tournament twenty years ago on their way to the championship game. Chris Webber called a timeout in the final moments of the game resulting in a technical foul from having none against North Carolina which sealed their fate. This would be the second year in a row Michigan could not complete the job after making it to the last game of the Final Four unable to capture victory.
(The entire “Fab Five” was in attendance for the championship game)
Twenty years later the University of Michigan is back in the tournament as the underdog. The only name that’ll be remembered from this tournament as a casual fan will be Kevin Ware. Ware has become a celebrity from suffering one of the most gruesome injuries on live television. A broken knee with a bone hanging out his leg was Kevin Ware in the Elite Eight would be his last contribution as a player but not as a leader to the team. While Ware’s bone was being covered up with a towel; Louisville’s team gathered around as Ware could only relay the message of winning this game.
(Louisville went on to beat Duke in the Elite Eight and then Wichita St. in the Final Four leading to the last game against Michigan.)
The game starts as the Player of the Year, Trey Burke’s show. Scoring the first seven points for Michigan, Burke seemed to be the poison in Louisville’s side. Burke would have to sit after picking up his second foul midway through the first half. Nothing to fear as Michigan fan when Spike Albrecht is near. Spike Albrecht became the star of the tournament for a few minutes of the first half going 4-4 from the 3pt line.
As Burke was sitting and Michigan was up to a hefty lead, Luke Hancock became the savior of Louisville basketball. Spike Albrecht wasn’t the Spike Michigan had in the past few minutes and Hancock was the same player he had been all tournament. Hancock would lead his Cardinals team to a comeback before the half down one point.
This could be the tournament of championship buzzer beaters. Luke Hancock continued to be Luke Hancock as the Louisville Cardinals became victorious with the leadership of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith through a back and forth second half of a tight game. “The Fab Five” being in attendance couldn’t right the wrong of a boneheaded play from Chris Webber twenty years later. The one point lead from Michigan at the half would turn into a six point victory for Louisville in a spectacular championship game.
Final Score: 82-76 Louisville over Michigan