It’s a Louisville-Michigan national final

ATLANTA — So in Monday night’s NCAA Championship Game, Rick Pitino will play the school he nearly picked over Louisville when he returned to college coaching 12 years ago.

Michigan beat Syracuse 61-56 to win the second semifinal and set up Monday night’s title game.

When Pitino resigned as coach of the Boston Celtics back in 2001, he was courted by both Michigan and Louisville before finally deciding on return to Kentucky, this time to coach U of L.

When John Beilein was the coach at West Virginia for five years, the two squared off three times. Pitino and Louisville beat West Virginia in the Elite Eight of the 2005 NCAA Tournament to earn a trip to the Final Four in St. Louis. West Virginia beat Louisville in Big East play in 2005-06. Louisville then beat West Virginia in the 2007 Big East Tournament.

According to @vegasbedwards, Louisville is a 4.5-point favorite Monday night.

Ken Pomeroy ranks Louisville as the No. 1 defensive team in the nation and Michigan the No. 1 offensive team in the  nation.

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