INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan rallied in the second half to upset Louisville 73-69 for a berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Louisville was a No. 2 seed while Michigan is a No. 7 seed in this year’s Midwest Regional.
Louisville took control from the get-go, jumping out to a 3-point lead at the outset and 7-point bulges at 15-8 and 21-14. Coach John Beilein’s Wolverines whittled their way back to within 27-26 and then tied the score for the first time at 28-all with 1 1/2 minutes to go until intermission.
But Louisville then rattled off eight straight points and was up 36-28 at the break.
The Cardinals continued with another outburst at the beginning of the second half, going in front by nine at 41-32, 43-34, 45-36 and 47-38. The Wolverines then closed to within 50-49, where the score remained at the midway point of the finale.
Michigan then knotted the score once again at 51-51 at the 9:16 mark and took its first lead of the contest at 53-51 with 8:51 to go. The Wolverines were up 64-59 at the 3-minute mark, 65-61 with two minutes left to play and 67-63 during a timeout with exactly 1:00 showing on the clock.
Coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals closed to within 67-65 before Michigan upped the gap to 69-65 with 23 seconds remaining. Louisville then trimmed the margin to 69-67 but free throws pushed Michigan back up 71-67 at 17.3 seconds.
The Cards closed to within 71-69 but once again Wolverine free throws upped the edge back to 73-69 and the clock wound down from there.
Michigan improved to 26-11 and now has a 7-game winning streak.
The Wolverines will now play the winner of Sunday night’s Oregon vs. Rhode Island game in Sweet Sixteen action on Thursday in Kansas City.
Louisville finished 25-9 on the campaign.