And Then There Were Two

NCAA_FinalFourLogoAnd There Were Two!

The NCAA Championship is set. The number nine ranked Michigan Wolverines and the number one ranked Louisville Cardinals will play on Monday, April 8 at 9pm inside the Georgia Dome.

The Cardinals awaited their opponent after making a late comeback win and defeating Wichita State. The Cardinals went into the second half down by one (26-25). They continued their unfamiliar play by giving the Shockers a 12-point lead early in the second half. Leaders Russ Smith and Peyton Siva looked and acted differently on the floor. Smith finished 5-12 in free throws with five turnovers. Siva finished the game with seven points going 1-9 from the field and 5-6 on free throws.

Instead of having their leaders make plays for them, the Cardinals turned to bench player Luke Hancook, who scored 20-points and gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night with 6:43 left in the game. Once they took the lead, they outscored the Shockers 37-21 in the second half. Louisville was victorious winning 72-68.

The Michigan Wolverines finished their tough challenge and “out-ran” Syracuse’s zone defense. Despite an off night from John R. Wooden Award Winner (highest award for a college basketball athlete) Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr and Mitch McGary pushed their way through Syracuse and advanced to the finals.

Burke started the game off very uncomfortable. He was shooting deep three’s and forcing every attempt. Burke finished the game with 1-8 from the field, and after 5 rebounds and 4 assists, he left the rest to his teammates. This game was a tough win for the Wolverines because their shooting percentage was low compared to Syracuse’s. The Wolverines shot 39% from the field and 55% from the free throw line, compared to Syracuse shooing 41% and 63%. It seemed as though the Wolverines were listening to the commentators who kept saying, “knock down open threes, crash the boards, and work the ball inside and out with crisp, rapid-fire passes.” At the end of the game, the scoreboard read 61-56 Michigan and they advanced to the next round.

Now the ballroom is set. The clothing for the big dance has been laid out. The Louisville Cardinals will be wearing Army Fatigue White and Red, and the Michigan Wolverines will be sporting Blue and Maize. This is the Cardinals’ first visit to the championships since their last win in 1986, and the Wolverines’ first trip since 1989, where they won it all as well.

The Cardinals are 4-point favorites, while the Wolverines seem to have the disappointment from the “Fab Five” as the chip on their shoulder. Although this has been a season of upsets, still no one knows what to expect. One thing fans can count on is excitement.

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