Last night was a historic night for Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. On the same day that Coach Pitino was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, he brings home an additional career milestone. Coach Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals bested the Michigan Wolverines 82-76 to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last night. Pitino is the only coach to win a national championship at two different Division I schools; he previously won a national title at the University of Kentucky in 1996.
“I’ve had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we’ve ever had,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “The team unity we had, the sacrifice we had from five seniors who did not get to play very much, to these young guys buying into the team concept. We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team. We have not seen that quickness anywhere.”
So just how terriffic was this Louisville squad? The team’s best player during the tournament, Luke Hancock, didn’t even start the game! Hancock scored 22 points in the championship game and won the 2013 Most Outstanding Player award as a sixth man! Hancock is the first non-starter to take him the MOP award since the NCAA tournament started in 1939.
Louisville has a shot to grab another bit of history tonight. U of L’s women’s basketball team will be playing UConn in the finals of the Women’s NCAA Tournament. Louisville has a chance at winning both the men’s and women’s national championships in the same year; the 2004 UConn men and women were the only Division I teams to pull off that ultra-rare double.
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