The University of Louisville defeated the University of Michigan 82-76 to end a 27-year wait for its third national championship in men’s college basketball.
Rick Pitino becomes the first coach in college basketball history to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at two different schools, following his 1996 title at Kentucky.
Louisville entered the tournament as the favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers and was the only top seed from the four regions to advance to the Final Four.
After losing reserve guard Kevin Ware to a broken leg against Duke, the Cardinals reached the title game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta after overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit against Wichita State. The win sent Louisville into the championship game for the first time since 1986, when it last won the national title.
The Cardinals end the season with a school record 35 wins in 40 games and on a 16-game winning streak.
The Wolverines have now lost three times in the final since claiming their only national title in 1989. Michigan also lost in 1992 and 1993, when the so-called Fab Five recruiting class of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson were freshmen and sophomores.
Tomorrow, Louisville goes against Connecticut in the final of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament.