Nate is really happy about the Wolverines, and their star guard Trey Burke, who is now the unanimous National Player of the Year. The Wolverines' head coach, John Beilein has been a basketball head coach at the junior college level or higher since 1978 without having to be an assistant along the way. While this is Beilein's first Final Four and championship appearance, he has led four different schools to the NCAA tournament (Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia, Michigan) and led the 2004-2005 West Virginia team on a surprising run to the Elite Eight and helped lead them back to the Sweet 16 a year later. In short, Beilein has led every program he's been at to success, including Michigan, which was still reeling from the impacts of the Ed Martin scandal when he took over. Now it's safe to say the Wolverines have come out of that time.
Louisville has been playing their best basketball, led by junior guard Russ Smith who leads the Cardinals in scoring and was also named a third team All American. Their head coach, Rick Pitino, was named to the Naismith Basketball of Fame earlier today, and is the only head coach to officially take three schools to the Final Four (Providence in 1987; Kentucky in 1993, 1996, 1997; Louisville in 2005, 2012, and 2013). Coach Pitino will also be going for his second national championship, after leading Kentucky to the title in 1996.
There have been other major storylines around this team, most notably sophomore guard Kevin Ware who suffered a compound right leg fracture in the Cards' regional final game vs. Duke. Also in their Final Four game vs. Wichita State last Saturday, walk on guard Tim Henderson made two huge threes to help Louisville make a second half comeback when they were down 12 points with 13 minutes left in the game, and here's an article on how he got to play on the team. In addition, Team Captain Luke Hancock scored 20 points in that game, and had an emotional moment with his ailing father after the win.
But for the purposes of this site, both the Louisville men's and women's basketball teams led by Rick Pitino and Jeff Walz respectively are now in position to win national championships on consecutive days.
The only time a school won both the men's and women's basketball championships in the same years was Connecticut in the 2003-2004 season. On April 5, 2004, the Huskies, led by now-Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor and now-Charlotte Bobcats guard Ben Gordon led UConn to a 82-73 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, which featured current NBA players like now-Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum and now-Golden State Warriors guard Jarrett Jack.
The very next day, the Huskies' women's basketball team won 70-61 over Tennessee with now-Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi leading the way for UConn in that game over a Lady Vols team which featured WNBA players such as Shyra Ely, Shanna Zolman, and Ashley Robinson.
The only other time a school had an opportunity to win both national championships was in 1999 when Duke reached both the men's and women's basketball championships. However, both teams lost their matches, with the men losing to UConn, and the women losing to Purdue.
Can Louisville repeat what UConn did nine years ago? Poll question is below. Enjoy the basketball tonight everyone!