Shortly before CBS cut to Trey Burke receiving the Naismith Award as the top player in the country, the Michigan point guard wasn’t even the best point guard on his own team in first half of the title game.
With Burke on the bench with two fouls, seldom-used freshman Spike Albrecht stole the show in one of the most thrilling halves in a title game in recent years.
Albrecht, whose only other scholarship offer came from Appalachian State, scored 17 points in the first half for the Wolverines as Michigan took a 38-37 lead.
For two athletic programs that are among the most successful in the country, the 2013 national title game will end droughts for both.
Louisville is playing in the national championship game for the first time since winning the title in 1986, a span that has included three Final Four appearances that came up empty. Meanwhile, Michigan is playing in its first title game since the end of the Fab Five era in 1993.
Louisville and Wichita State endured gut-checks in the form of three-game losing streaks earlier this season. Until the Final Four, that’s one of the few things the Cardinals and Shockers have had in common.
The field is set for the 2013 Final Four, and three quarters of it managed to surprise us.
Michigan and Syracuse struggled near the end of the regular season, but the Wolverines’ freshmen and the Orange’s defense carried the way to the national semifinals. And Wichita State couldn’t overtake Missouri Valley champion Creighton during the regular season, but took over its region.