Louisville crowned National Champions

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The Louisville Cardinals are now National Champions after an exciting postseason.

After an exciting month of comebacks, miracles, and heartbreakers, the madness has finally ended. The Louisville Cardinals (as I predicted in my March Madness preview article) have won the tournament, ending the Big Dance.

Out of the 64 teams that competed, only one could win. The Louisville team that won it all had all the components it needed to become National Champions.

Defence: The number one ranked defense in the nation held up in the tournament, allowing an average of just over 63 points during the six tournament games. This defense made up for this team’s offense, which isn’t as efficient.

Experience: With a team of veterans who reached the Final Four last year led by a Hall of Fame coach, Louisville had all the experience they needed. This factor helped them get out of risky situations and led them to win in close games. Rick Pitino, head coach, became the first coach to win the championship at two different schools. The first one was at Kentucky, back in 1996.

Leadership: The team has multiple leaders that they look upon. Russ Smith, Junior, is the star of the team, and he proved that he could take control of the team. Also, Luke Hancock, Junior, who came out of nowhere to win Most Outstanding Player honors led the team in times of deficit.

Trust: The team is a very close knit group of brothers. The 15 players have grown very close and they trust in each other to get the job done. No matter if the player is a star or a benchwarmer, his teammates have full trust in him. After the game multiple players explained that their relationship to each other was as close as brothers.

Inspiration: This championship was very inspirational. In the game against Duke, Kevin Ware, a speedy guard, suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in college sports. He landed wrong breaking his leg. His shin bone ripped through his skin, exposing bone, blood, and a scene gross enough to make one cover his eyes. After this injury, people on social media platforms posted many things with: #prayforware and #winitforware.

This special combination of traits enabled the highly talented Cardinals to beat North Carolina A&T, Colorado State, Oregon, Duke, and Wichita State, moving them to the title game against Michigan.

The championship game was worth watching, as the close score kept the intensity at its highest.

During the beginning of the game, Michigan shot lights out from the three while the Cardinals struggled to score, giving the Wolverines a double-digit lead. However, as the clock neared halftime, Luke Hancock, a captain for Louisville scored 14 straight points, turning a twelve point deficit into a nice one point lead. Going into halftime, Michigan led by one, leaving fans anxious for the second half.

In the second half, National Player of the Year Trey Burke started heating up, keeping the score close. However, as the end neared, many of Michigan’s star players started getting into foul trouble, putting them on the bench. Chane Behanan sealed the victory for the Cardinals as he used his strength against his opponents in the post, finishing with 12 total rebounds, seven of them offensive. The scoreboard read 82-76 as time expired.

After the game, the Louisville team held the tradition of cutting down the nets on the hoops as souvenirs. Kevin Ware had the honor of going last to cut the last strand, after the hoop was lowered for him.

After the game, coach Pitino joked, “About 12-13 games ago, all of these guys, when they say ‘hello’ they get a tattoo. They said if you win the national championship, coach, you are getting a tattoo. I said, hell yeah, I am getting a tattoo.”

 

#wonitforware