The 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions are the Louisville Cardinals, defeating Michigan 82-76

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The 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions are the Louisville Cardinals, defeating

Wayne Blackshear opened the second half with a three to continue the Louisville momentum. Conspicuous by his absence, though, was Russ Smith. He was benched at the beginning of the half until Hancock committed his third foul.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Burke got himself back in the flow with a three. Earlier, he got pulled with foul trouble so early that the sweat had already dried.

You had to wonder about the floor at the Georgia Dome. Cardinal point guard Peyton Siva spent a lot of time slipping and sliding on his dribble, especially on his lane penetrations. Was moisture accumulating on the raised basketball court that situated over a football field? It happened against Wichita State at times, too.

And where Russ Smith wasn’t playing well, Chane Behanan started to find his comfort zone. He created shots, got putbacks and hit free throws like the Behanan from earlier in the season. With his best friend, Kevin Ware sitting out, if he was going to bring the trophy to his boy, he needed to do just that.

Freaky ref calls made the game “interesting” throughout. Harrell got called for a foul on a clean block. Earlier an intentional Michigan kicked ball went without a whistle. And this was supposed to be the best set of officials on the biggest stage. Actually, not so much.

So while that happened, the Wolverines were in the double-bonus while Michigan had “only” committed three fouls on Louisville to that point. One of them, though was from McGary who became a non-factor in the game after his starring role against Syracuse.

After a 10 point Louisville lead, the game tightened up to the point where the Wolverines were forced to foul and the Cards played smart by keeping the ball in the hands of the good free throw shooters. That meant the bonus finally came to the Cardinals. And it meant Hancock and Siva went to the line. And that’s that’s what closed the game. 2013 NCAA basketball champions: 82-76.

Siva put the team on his shoulders and finished with 18 points. Hancock put in 22. Luke was also voted most outstanding player of the Final Four and deservedly so.

So with a Sugar Bowl victory and NCAA basketball championship, could a ladies trophy come home Tuesday night? The Lady Cards take on UConn to see if that can happen.

Photo: Louisville.com/Tim Girton

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