Louisville vs. Michigan: Luke Hancock answers Spike Albrecht's call


You predicted the championship game would be a Luke Hancock-Spike Albrecht free-for-all, right?

Spike Albrecht stole the show early as the unheralded guy drilling threes off the bench, giving Michigan an early 12-point lead. Luke Hancock was not feeling it though, answering right back to make this contest a one-point game.

Each guy went 4-for-4 from deep in one of the more frenetically freakish first-halves of basketball we've seen all year - nice that it happened in the national championship game, huh?

It's actually sort of tough to compare Hancock to Albrecht. While both aren't stars for their teams, Albrecht is a serious unknown - although he'd hit his first five threes in the NCAA Tournament and followed that up with four threes tonight, he still wasn't a major part of what Michigan was doing. His career-high was just seven points, and his average was just 1.8 points.

Meanwhile, Hancock has been a pivotal part of the team all year, and that continued in the tourney. Unrecruited out of high school, Hancock went to prep school for a year and earned a scholarship to George Mason. When Jim Larranaga left, he left too, opting to transfer.

His top two choices? No joke: Louisville and Michigan.

He fit in immediately: with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith playing to drive, Hancock spotted up from beyond the arc all year, averaging 7.7 points on 36.9 three-point shooting. He drilled five threes in a win over then-ranked Missouri, finishing with 19 points. He had strong outings in games against Georgetown and Syracuse. And when players fouled out in a five-overtime game against Notre Dame, he stepped up, scoring a season-high 22 points.

But maybe his best outing was in the Final Four, when he managed 20 points on just nine shots - including several late threes - against Wichita State. And then, he forced the jump ball that eventually sealed Louisville's win.

So is it a surprise to see him drill four threes and end the first half with 16 points? Well, yeah, I guess. But not as big a surprise as the Albrecht thing. Neither were really the key to the game here, but they are the ones that have made for an awesome show.

More in College Basketball:

10 things to know about Michigan vs. Louisville

Pitino vs. Beilein: A contrast of styles

5 thoughts on Final Four Saturday

Spencer Hall: A field guide to Atlanta

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Living and playing basketball with cancer

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