Michigan beats Syracuse; advances to title game against Louisville

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.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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