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FINALS WATCH: Bluegrass glory, Louisville wins

Tuesday - 4/9/2013, 3:38am  ET

Louisville players celebrate after defeating Michigan 82-76 after the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 8, 2013, in Atlanta.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Around the Final Four and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of everything surrounding the games.

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BLUEGRASS STATE GLORY

The state of Kentucky is 2-for-2.

The Louisville Cardinals will be taking the second consecutive NCAA national championship back to the Bluegrass State. The Kentucky Wildcats and coach John Calipari captured the crown last year.

Monday night it was Rick Pitino and the Cardinals' turn. They were the favorites and the top-seeded team in the tournament didn't disappoint -- winning in entertaining fashion.

Louisville rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to beat Michigan 82-76.

And in doing so, Pitino made history -- he became the first coach to lead two different schools to the title. The other? Those rival Wildcats.

And the ride for the basketball-crazed state isn't over.

Next up is the Louisville women's team, which plays Connecticut Tuesday night for the title.

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LOUISVILLE WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Rick Pitino has history.

The Cardinals' coach became the first to win titles at two different schools, adding to the one he won with Kentucky by leading Louisville to a 82-75 victory over Michigan on Monday night.

Louisville trailed by 12 early in the game, but turned up the pressure on defense, kept up their hot shooting on offense and made enough free throws down the stretch to put away the Wolverines.

Luke Hancock, who led Louisville with 22 points, made two foul shots with 29.8 seconds left for an 80-74 lead. And after Tim Hardaway Jr. scored at the other end for Michigan, Peyton Siva added two more foul shots with 12.9 seconds to go to seal the game.

Trey Burke's 3-pointer in the closing seconds missed everything and went out of bounds, and the Cardinals started to celebrate as Russ Smith was fouled with 2 seconds left.

When the buzzer sounded, the Cardinals rushed to center court and began jumping as fireworks exploded in the Georgia Dome and confetti fell onto the floor.

-- Dave Skretta -- http://twitter.com/@APdaveskretta

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LOUISVILLE'S RALLY

Louisville has stormed back and taken the lead since trailing Michigan by 12 points in the first half of Monday night's championship game.

Michigan led the top-seeded Cardinals 33-21 in the first half. The Cardinals recovered to lead 71-64 with 4:34 remaining -- a 19-point turnaround.

Luke Hancock started the comeback with 16 points in the first half.

-- Charles Odum -- http://twitter.com/@CharlesOdum

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RECORD TURNOUT

The attendance for Monday night's Louisville-Michigan game at the Georgia Dome is 74,326 -- a record for a championship game.

The record may not last long. The 2014 Final Four will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Attendance there could reach 80,000.

-- Charles Odum

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FOUL TROUBLE

Foul trouble is starting to mount for Louisville.

Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, the Cardinals' starting guards, each picked up their third foul early in the second half, along with Luke Hancock, who had been hot from the 3-point line.

The foul trouble in the backcourt is especially troublesome for Louisville because of the injury sustained by Kevin Ware, who had been providing valuable minutes off the bench.

Ware broke his leg in the regional finals against Duke.

The Wolverines were in better shape, with only forward Mitch McGary in foul trouble. The big forward picked up his fourth with 9:11 left in the game.

-- Dave Skretta

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HOT SHOOTING

So much for that theory about poor shooting in domes.

Michigan and Louisville aren't having any trouble. The teams combined to start the second half 5 of 6 from the field.

The Wolverines took a 38-37 lead into halftime Monday night thanks in part to shooting 50 percent from the field, and 6 of 11 from beyond the arc. Spike Albrecht helped, of course, with his 6-for-7 half and by going 4 for 4 from deep.

The Cardinals aren't doing shabby, either. They were hitting at a 46-percent clip and were 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, led by a 4-for-4 effort from Luke Hancock.

There's long been a belief that shooting in domes is more difficult because depth perception is thrown off by the spacious surroundings. That hasn't been the case tonight.

-- Dave Skretta -- http://twitter.com/@APdaveskretta

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HALFTIME -- MICHIGAN LEADING

It's halftime at the national championship game and Michigan is 20 minutes away from only its second national championship.

Freshman Spike Albrecht is the surprise scoring leader with 17 points as Michigan leads Louisville 38-37 at halftime of Monday night's championship game. Michigan won its only title in 1989.

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