Michigan will face off against Louisville in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game after both teams survived tough Final Four opponents on April 6 in Atlanta, Ga.

No. 1 Louisville squeezed by No. 9 Wichita State, 72-68, before No. 4 Michigan barely escaped with an ugly 61-56 win over No. 4 Syracuse.

No one scored more than 13 points for Michigan (31-7), which made only 39 percent of their shots from the field and just 33 percent of their 3-pointers. Michigan even struggled from the free-throw line, making just 55 percent of their shots at the charity stripe.

Michigan star sophomore guard Trey Burke couldn’t find his typical rhythm shooting and made only 1-of-8 shots and totaled just seven points. Freshman guard Nik Stauskas was worse, going 0-for-5 from the field. Junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. led the team with 13 points while freshman forward Glenn Robinson III followed with a modest 10.

But Michigan still aggressively attacked the defensive zone of Syracuse (30-10) and managed to score enough to earn their first trip to the championship game since 1989.

They’ll face Louisville (34-5), who will play in their first championship game since 1986.

Louisville trailed Wichita State (30-9) by 12 points early in the second half of the game, but used a 21-8 run with 13 minutes left to come back and take the lead. Both teams exchanged leads until, with two minutes remaining, Louisville finally took the lead for good and held off Wichita State.

Junior guards Russ Smith and Luke Hancock led Louisville with 21 points and 20 points respectively.

The title game will tip-off April 8 at 9:23 p.m. Eastern time.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor