Two Michigan Contests Among The Best Men's Final Four Games of All-Time
The Final Four should be starting today but due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we are all left wondering what could've been. Journalists across the country are trying to conjure up story ideas, and Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde did just that by looking back at some of the best Final Four games of all time.
The long-time journalist combed through 81 previous tournaments to come up with the 12 best semifinal matchups and the 12 best championship games. Michigan showed up twice, once in each section and on both ends of the scoreboard, according to Forde.
Michigan 81, Kentucky 78 (OT), 1993
"The Wildcats destroyed everyone in their path on the way to New Orleans, winning four games by an average of 28.5 points. The Fab Five, meanwhile, arrived after three straight close scrapes," Forde wrote. "But they were ready for their close-up, using their length and athleticism to swarm undersized Kentucky point guard Travis Ford. Chris Webber and Jamal Mashburn staged a high-level duel, but Mashburn fouled out in overtime and the Wolverines prevailed."
Louisville 82, Michigan 76, 2013
"There is an asterisk next to Louisville’s name in the record books, but the first half of this game was among the most entertaining ever," Forde said. "The underdog Wolverines roared to a 12-point lead behind a stunning 17 points from freshman bench jockey Spike Albrecht (he would go on to play 103 more college games and only once score more than 17 in any of them.) Then Louisville came back with its own startling barrage, with Luke Hancock making four straight threes to key a 17-3 run. The second half was tense until the Cardinals wore down Michigan late. The three games in the ’13 Final Four were decided by a total of 15 points."
What do you recall about these two games?
Obviously with them being 20 years apart, and if you're in the same boat as me, you may not recollect much from the first game. I would've been two months shy of turning nine years old for the matchup against Kentucky, so I don't really remember it. Of course I was a massive fan of the Fab Five, but I don't recall any specific details from watching that game. I'm sure I did, probably alongside my dad and uncles, but the actual memories escape me.
The 2013 national title game, however, I remember clearly. I was living in South Carolina still and was rushing through the city of Anderson to try to get to my parents' house in time for tip off. I was a touch exasperated since my then-fiancé was the reason for our tardiness, but we made it in time to watch Michigan, and specifically Spike Albrecht, have a first half that made us think U-M would end the night as national champs. Obviously Michigan came up a bit short, but it was still a hell of a game to watch.