Michigan poured everything it had into Monday night’s national championship game against Louisville, and while the Wolverines came up short in their bid to bring home their first title since 1989, they have no reason to hang their heads.
Yet, there were the Wolverines battling the Cardinals for basketball’s biggest prize, battling for their One Shining Moment, battling for the chance to have their night end with confetti falling and a trophy being raised into the air.
It didn’t matter that Trey Burke, the national player of the year, dropped 24 on the Cardinals.
It didn’t matter that Spike Albrecht rose to the occasion and pumped in 17 points.
It didn’t matter that Michigan raced off to the best possible start it could ask for in a championship game, leading by 12 at one point in the first half before the Cardinals stole the momentum and ran with it to an 82-76 win at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Michigan is going to have a different look next year. Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III are all probably turning pro.
But the fact that Michigan made it to the final game says something about the state of the program.
The Wolverines are back to being relevant for the first time since the early 1990s and they have a lot they can take from this run to the title game. It hurts now, but the experienced gained will benefit the Wolverines in the long run.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.