After 66 games worth of NCAA tournament madness, the matchup for Monday’s national final is set: Top overall seed Louisville will meet Michigan at the Georgia Dome with a 9:23 p.m. scheduled tip-off.
Here’s a breakdown of what you may have missed:
Best comeback: Louisville over Wichita State
The Shockers were aiming to become the first No. 9 seed to play in the national title game, and they led the Cardinals by 12 points in the second half. But walk-on Tim Henderson canned back-to-back threes to cut the deficit in half, and Louisville wore down Wichita State, which went more than 26 minutes without a turnover at one point, with its press in the waning minutes.
Will Wichita fall victim to Louisville Chinese water torture (full court press)
— Morgan Wootten (@coachwootten) April 7, 2013
This hustle play from George Mason transfer Luke Hancock to draw a questionable tie-up pretty much sealed the 72-68 victory
Best performance: Michigan’s Mitch McGary
During the first half of Saturday’s nightcap, Twitter gushed with praise for Michigan’s 6-foot-10 freshman forward, speculating on his NBA Draft prospects. McGary added several impressive entries to his personal highlight reel as the Wolverines raced out to a double-digit lead. That pace slowed in the second half as the youngster battled foul trouble and missed a pair of late free throws, but he still ended up with a stacked stat line (10 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four blocks) and a place in the national final. (H/T: Buzzfeed Sports)
Worst call: The Ron Baker-Stephan Van Treese double foul
Ron Baker got smacked in the face on this play with 3:50 left, and the referees ended up ruling a double foul, which switched the possession arrow. That became somewhat important later in the game. The Cardinals got the ball on the last tie up with six seconds left.
Best bench: Louisville
Louisville’s reserves combined to shoot 12 of 16 from the field en route to 34 of the team’s 72 points. Hancock provided most of that production with 20 points, but walk-on Tim Henderson hit a pair of three-pointers and Montrezl Harrell added eight points, including this painful bucket.
Best day: Louisville Coach Rick Pitino
Pitino has Louisville headed back to the national title game for the first time since 1986, and Goldencents, a horse that he has an ownership stake in, won the Santa Anita Derby to earn a chance in the Kentucky Derby. Also, he’s expected to be included in the Basketball Hall of Fame’s next class, which will be announced on Monday.
Rick Pitino’s horse Goldencents just won the Santa Anita Derby, $750K prize and gets a Kentucky Derby bid.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 6, 2013
Best press conference exchange: Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim and Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com
The veteran coach hasn’t much enjoyed reporters asking him this week if he’s been considering retirement. Boeheim took special offense after his team’s 61-56 loss to Michigan. (H/T: The Big Lead)