The University of Louisville Cardinals will face the University of Michigan Wolverines for the 2013 NCAA Basketball National Title Monday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It will be the first time the teams have met since 1978. Overall tournament #1 seeded Louisville defeated the upset minded Wichita State Shockers 72-65, while fourth-seeded Michigan defeated the Syracuse University Orangeman 61–56. Wichita State was seeded ninth while Syracuse was also a number four seed. Big Ten Michigan’s victory spoiled the hopes of many looking forward to an all-Big East final
Starting with the inspiration provided by the tragic season ending injury to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware, this one is chock full of back stories. Here are 23 factoids about the respective teams and players.
1. Louisville represents the Big East in what will be their last game for arguably the best basketball conference in the last 30 years.
2. The Big East has sent seven teams to the Final Four in the last five years.
3. Starting next season the Big East will be dissolved and two new conferences will be formed. The “Catholic 7” schools of the former Big East will retain will retain the name. The remaining teams will be called the American Athletic Conference.
4. The Catholic 7 are DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova.
6. Big East Syracuse will join the ACC next year. A Louisville-Syracuse final could not only have been a Big East finale it could have been a prelude to an ACC final.
7. Louisville has won two championships, once in 1980 and the last one in 1986.
8. Michigan’s only championship came in 1989 against another Big East opponent Seton Hall.
9. Michigan has lost four times in the championship game (’65, ’76, ’92, ’93).
10. Louisville’s coach Rick Pitino has won one championship before as coach of the 1996 University of Kentucky Wildcats.
11. If Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had won that would have set up a championship rematch between he and Louisville coach Pitino. Pitino’s Kentucky Wildcats defeated Boeheim’s Syracuse Orangemen 76-67 to in 1996.
12. If Pitino wins he will be the first coach to win the national championship with two teams.
13. Pitino is expected to be selected for induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday prior to the championship game.
14. Michigan is the youngest team in the tournament.
15. The Michigan Wolverines starting lineup includes the sons of former NBA All-Stars Tim Hardaway and Glenn Robinson, Jr. 6’6” freshman Glenn Robinson III is the starting forward while 6’6” junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. plays guard.
16. 6’10,” Wolverine role player Jon Horford is the son of former NBA player Tito Horford and the brother of NBA all-star Al Horford.
17. Horford will be playing the championship in Atlanta where his brother Al who stars for the Atlanta Hawks.
18. Al Horford won back-to-back NCAA basketball championships for the University of Florida Gators.
19. Al Horford won the 2007 championship in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. His brother Jon will be looking to duplicate the event this year.
20. This was the first time since 1985 that one of these teams — Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas or UCLA — did not make it to the Final Four.
23. Legendary Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran died last month just as this year’s tournament was beginning. Curran was inducted into nine Halls of Fame.