Michigan beats Syracuse; advances to title game against Louisville

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The Wolverines made their last national title game exactly 20 years ago. (AP)

ATLANTA -- Maize and Blue has a Monday night reservation against some Cardinal red.

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines took out fellow fourth-seed Syracuse 61-56 Saturday night at the Georgia Dome, and so it'll be UM vs. U of L for the 2013 national title.

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Michigan was led by a balanced attack. There was no huge performance from any one player in this one, unless you want to count Mitch McGary's double-double that also included a career-best six assists. Tim Hardaway, Jr. led the Wolverines with 13 points. Syracuse was led by C.J. Fair's 22 -- on 20 shots.

It got close and in doubt late, but a bad shot from Trevor Cooney (seriously, Trevor Cooney) ruined Syracuse's chances when it trailed 59-56 and had the ball. Not even a touch for Fair or James Southerland. It was a drive by Cooney gone awry, and so went Syracuse's shot to get Jim Boeheim another title-game appearance.

It's the first time in four showings that Boeheim has lost in a national semifinal.

Orange star point guard Michael Carter-Williams fouled out with 1:14 to go, his team trailing 55-49. He finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting. His counterpart, player of the year Trey Burke, only managed seven points. In fact, the Michigan backcourt was a big letdown overall. Who'd have thought Burke and Nik Stauskas would combine for 1-of-13 from the floor for seven points?

Brandon Triche also fouled out for Syracuse, his charge with 19.2 to go in a 58-56 game sealing Syracuse's fate, I think. If Triche or MCW are in that game, Cooney isn't, and so Syracuse has a much better shot at a ... better shot.

A 3 by Southerland with less than 40 seconds to go cut it do 57-56 Michigan, and I gotta say, it was really nice to get two good games here on a national semifinal Saturday.

So here we are, set for a title game. Michigan will be playing for a national title in basketball for the first time in exactly two decades. You might remember the last one. Against Carolina. Chris Webber and the timeout that never was. Kind of a huge moment back then.

So that will be a lot of backdrop over the next 45 hours as we head to the sport's ultimate game of the 2012-13 season. It will be the No. 1 offense (Michigan) against the No. 1 defense ('Ville) for all the ... peaches. And a title.

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