Louisville claims third national title

ATLANTA – The party is on! The University of Louisville men's basketball team claimed the school's third national title on Monday night, beating Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA Tournament national championship game at the Georgia Dome.

The wait is over!

Twenty-seven years after claiming its last national championship in men's basketball, the University of Louisville has won a third title.

With reserve Luke Hancock getting the Most Outstanding Player Award and several others playing major roles, the Cardinals rallied from 12 points down for the second straight game and beat Michigan 82-76.

"It doesn't get any better than this," Hancock said.

The Cardinals ended the season on a 16-game winning streak and finished the year with a 35-5 mark, which was a school record.

U of L won the title just a week after sophomore guard Kevin Ware went down with a horrific broken right leg. The goal was lowered and Ware was the one to cut the last strand on the first net from the goals.

"It's been such a rollercoaster of emotions," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "I've been around when guys blow out their ACLs but I've never seen such affection and spontaneous emotion. I look back on it and say, ‘That was really, really special.

"I was glad to be a part of that team."

U of L also won the title in 1980 and '86 with Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum on the sidelines. This one came on the same day Pitino was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He also won the title in 1996 at Kentucky.

"It's just been an incredible run with just the most wonderful young men I had the pleasure to be around," Pitino said. "I am so proud of them.

"You know a lot of times when you get to the Final Four, you get to a championship, the game's not always great, not always pretty. But this was a great college basketball game."

Cardinal Authority will have plenty of coverage, including videos and stories all week on the run to the title.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories