Re-live the entire 2013 college basketball season through the eyes of TheSportsNotebook.com This is a collection of college basketball blog posts from TheSportsNotebook.com, covering the 2013 season from the conference previews of November and December to several columns a week through the league schedules after the New Year to a complete preview, and then game-by-game recap of March Madness. Recap the memories of what it was like to be a college basketball fan in 2013, watching the season unfold all over again.
Okay Louisville, I surrender. I believe in you now. After an entire NCAA Tournament of damning the Cardinals with faint praise, I’m going to heap it on them now. Not just because they completed the last leg of the journey, beating Michigan 82-76 last night in Atlanta to win the national championship. But the way in which they did it.
Louisville and Michigan were both highly regarded teams when the college basketball season began back in November, and in a year that’s seen wild fluctuations in the college hoops stock market, so to speak, it’s going to end with two of the early favorites playing for the national championship on Monday night (9:23 PM ET, CBS).
Plucky Wichita did almost everything they had to do to beat the Cardinals in Saturday’s first semi-final. They shot 40 percent from the floor—while that’s hardly lighting it up, it’s about as good as you can expect against the Louisville defense. They played pretty good defense themselves, they enjoyed a slight rebounding edge, and forwards Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall combined to exceed their composite season averages in points and rebounds. Early in particular was outstanding, with a 24/10 night.
An up-and-down college basketball season where top teams treated the #1 spot like a hot potato reaches the Final Four in Atlanta with Louisville having emerged as a clear favorite. The Cardinals are only getting 2-3 odds to win the national championship. Is Rick Pitino that sure a bet to claim his second national championship and first with the Cards? Or are Michigan, Syracuse and sleeper Wichita, not getting enough love? In today’s college basketball coverage, we’ll first break down all four teams—their personnel and the road they took to get here, and then look at the specifics of Saturday’s national semi-final games.
And then they were Four. Louisville, Wichita State, Syracuse and Michigan all punched tickets to Atlanta and the Final Four over the weekend, and their national semifinal games on Saturday will be the highlight of a sports week that also has all Major League Baseball teams swinging into action today and tomorrow for the first time. We also awake from our NCAA Tournament/MLB Spring Training slumber to see the NBA and NHL closing in on the end of the regular season.