ATLANTA -- In the emotional locker-room moments Monday after his team lost 82-76 to Louisville in the national championship game, Michigan coach John Beilein had one message for his team: Do not hang your heads.
So the Wolverines held their chins up as they discussed their defeat -- only to show off red-rimmed eyes.
"We're so proud of what we accomplished,'' junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "But it hurts to come so close."
This young, fourth-seeded team -- whose players now admit they even doubted themselves at times when they finished 5-5 over the last 10 games of the regular season -- performed even better than when it held the No. 1 ranking earlier this season. Thanks to an inspired (and inspiring) effort by freshman reserve point guard Spike Albrecht (a career-high 17 points), the Wolverines held as much as a 12-point lead in the first half.
And even after Louisville rallied, Wooden Award-winning ballhandler Trey Burke, back in the game in the second half after early foul trouble, kept trying to push them into position to prevail.
To read the rest of this story from Robbi Pickeral, click here.