By Mike Stone
Michigan certainly will have their work cut out for them Monday night at 9:23 p.m. on CBS 62 and 950 WWJ when they battle Louisville for the NCAA championship. The Wolverines are four point underdogs and I understand why. The top seeded Cardinals have a relentless pressure defense that is similar to the VCU havoc that Michigan destroyed in round 2. But, Louisville’s players are better and more athletic than VCU’s.
Offensively they have more weapons than Syracuse had Saturday night. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are outstanding despite shooting a combined 7-26 in the national semifinal. The guy who may give the Wolverines the biggest problem is Gorgui Dieng. The 6’11” junior from the Senegal averages close to 10 points a game, but its his 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks that could be deadly for Michigan.
The Wolverines are on a roll. They were able to win Saturday night despite poor shooting from their stars as Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr combined for a subpar 5-24. Mitch McGary has been the stud for the Wolverines and not just with his scoring. The freshman displayed a deft passing touch and the ability to not only rebound but keep possessions by tapping the ball out to teammates on missed shots.
The teams are coming off similar semifinals,besides the poor shooting from their top duos. Both Louisville and Michigan received tremendous contributions from their benches. Luke Hancock and Tim Henderson for Louisville were key for the Cardinals while Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht came up huge for Michigan.
So who is going to win it all? I have to admit I have been wrong about Michigan. I thought they would lose to VCU,Kansas,and Florida. I did think they would beat Syracuse, but I have doubted them all season. I think this one goes down to the wire, but I am going to pick Louisville for one reason. They seem to be a tad better than Michigan at finishing out games. Louisville 72 Michigan 68,but don’t worry Michigan fans,that is probably good news for you.