Louisville 82, Michigan 76: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
A roller-coaster first half, which had Twitter in a frenzy of hyperbole, led to a grinding second half, and in the end experience won out as Louisville knocked off Michigan 82-76 to win Rick Pitino's second career men's basketball title, making him the first coach to win it all at two different schools.
The bird is flying high....
Like any championship event, there were winners and there were losers, so as midnight approaches while I type this, here are my stream of conscious winners and losers from Monday night's spine-tingler:
4. Luke Hancock
The list of the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player has many names who were considered among the all-time college basketball greats -- Isiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, Akeem (Hakeem) Olajuwon, Christian Laettner, to name a few. It also includes several "hot hand" role players -- Anderson Hunt, Donald Williams, Jeff Sheppard, Wayne Ellington. Considering he averaged 7.7 points per game during the season, and 6.3 points per game during the first four games of the tournament, I feel safe putting Hancock and his 21 points per game in the tournament on 73 percent shooting in the latter category.
3. Peyton Siva
Numbers are funny. You glance at the box score, and you see Trey Burke shot 7 for 11 from the field and had 24 points, and you'd think that he was the better of the two point guards, especially seeing that Siva shot 6 for 15 from the field. But Siva had an assist/steal to turnover ratio of 9 to 2, compared to Burke's 3 to 4, and then there's the intangible way in which Siva controls tempo and finds his guys in perfect spots. I love Siva's game. I'm going to hate him when he gets drafted by the Spurs with like the 55th pick or something.
2. Rick Pitino
Over the last few years, Pitino is a guy who's had his good days (numerous, actually) and his bad days (well-documented, and most of them involving tables, Porcini's, and Karen Sypher). Monday may have been his best day. Winning a second title and being named to the basketball Hall of Fame in the same day. Does it get any better than that? It's a long way from this....