cheesin'This may be a little bit late, but I wanted to take the time to congratulate the Louisville men’s basketball team for winning the 2013 NCAA Basketball Championship on Monday night with a 82-76 victory over Michigan. The win gives the university its third national title and caps off a 16-game winning streak for the Cardinals, which includes winning the final conference tournament of the Big East as we know it. This also puts icing on the cake for the school’s athletic program. On top of the men’s basketball team winning the title, the football team won the Allstate Sugar Bowl over mighty Florida, and the women’s basketball team made it to the national championship game before losing to  Connecticut on Tuesday night in New Orleans. As for the head coach, Rick Pitino, the national championship is icing on the cake for what has to be one of the best weekends any one could have. Pitino was nominated to the Basketball Hall of Fame, saw one of his horses qualify to run in the upcoming Kentucky Derby, and became the first head coach ever to win national titles with two different teams, the other team being Louisville’s in-state rival, Kentucky, in 1996. As for the players on the team, they showed a lot of grit and heart in getting to this championship. During the regular season, they lost a five-overtime heart breaker to Notre Dame 104-101. A loss like that has the potential to crush most teams for the rest of the season, but the Cardinals wouldn’t lose another game. In the Big East Tournament Final, they were down 45-29 to Syracuse, only to outscore the Orange 49-16 in the final 12 minutes to win that game 78-61. In the Midwest Regional Final against Duke, shooting guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome leg injury, which brought some of the players, and even Pitino, to tears after it happened. Instead of bringing the team down, it brought them closer together and made their resolve even tougher. They would go on to blowout Duke 85-63 to get to the Final Four, which was being held in Ware’s hometown of Atlanta. The team overcame 12-point deficits in the national semifinals against Wichita State and in the final against Michigan to hoist the national championship trophy. In a college basketball season that was full of surprises and upsets, Louisville winning isn’t that much of a surprise. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the were the No. 1 overall seed and they played like they were the best team in the nation. During the year, you saw teams such as Michigan, Indiana, Duke, Gonzaga and Louisville themselves hold the No. 1 ranking, only to get beat and fallout from the spot. A lot of people thought since there were so many upsets, one of the lesser teams would win the tournament, but it turned out to be one of the more storied programs in college basketball.  Louisville was able to peak at the right time and ride the wave all the way to the national title. Through all the ups-and-down, this team never faded away. Once again congratulations to the University of Louisville for winning the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

By Charles Taylor

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