The Louisville Cardinals took home their third NCAA championship title Monday night with a win against the Michigan Wolverines. Louisville struggled to come back from a twelve-point deficit in the first half and ended up advancing their lead over Michigan by as many as ten points during the second half. Michigan, a fourth seed to Louisville’s first, played a solid offensive game and put forth their best effort.
The team’s victory became, for them, a celebratory ending to the loss of sophomore guard Kevin Ware from tournament play. The injured Ware watched his team from the sidelines, having sustained a nasty compound fracture in his right leg in an Elite Eight game against Duke.
Louisville included Ware in the tradition of cutting down the basketball nets at the end of the game. After each player had his go, the net was lowered for Ware who, leaning forward on his crutches, took the final snip and looped it around his neck.
While Louisville’s story has a happy ending, Witchita State contains the underdog heroes of this year’s tournament. The ninth seed team is the true Cinderella story to remember here. Beating out the likes of first seed Gonzaga, who didn’t even make it to the Sweet Sixteen, and second seed Ohio State, the team made it to the Final Four where they lost in a tight game against Louisville.
Louisville was, in fact, the only first seed team that made it to the Elite Eight this time around. Kansas and Indiana both got kicked out in the Sweet Sixteen round.
Another upset earlier in the tournament was second seed Georgetown, known for building up solid teams, the Huskies fell to fifteenth seed Florida Gulf Coast University in the first round of play.