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Louisville vs. Michigan: Defense is key in NCAA championship game

Louisville and Michigan are two college teams that like to run the basketball floor. They will do just that in the NCAA men's national championship game in Atlanta. But the team that plays better defense will take the title.

By Staff / April 8, 2013

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino (R) sits with Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein ahead of the NCAA men's Final Four basketball championship in Atlanta, Georgia April 7, 2013.

Jeff Haynes/REUTERS

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Two teams which have both spent time ranked No. 1 in the country this season will meet in the ultimate match Monday night in Atlanta - the NCAA men's basketball championship.

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The University of Michigan and the University of Louisville will play in the title game that's scheduled to tip off at 9:23 p.m. Eastern time. The Wolverines and Cardinals have met on the basketball court twice in their histories. Louisville defeated Michigan in both 1977 and 1978.

The Cardinals had to come from behind against Wichita State Saturday night in one national semifinal, while the Wolverines held off Syracuse at the end of the other NCAA semifinal. Both winners got big contributions from their bench players - Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell, and Tim Henderson for Louisville and Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht for Michigan.

The 75th edition of this tournament has been replete with Cinderella story lines, including Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast University. But there are also the stories from the Louisville roster: Kevin Ware's horrific leg injury against Duke and the serious illness that Luke Hancock's father is dealing with.

On Monday, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino learned he has been selected for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame next fall. Pitino is trying to win his second NCAA title with his third university, after taking Providence College to the 1987 Final Four and winning the 1996 NCAA championship at Kentucky.

There are three areas to watch when looking at Monday night's game.

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