One shining moment?
This has been a tournament of many shining moments, from Trey Burke’s buzzer beater to defeat Kansas and propel Michigan into the Final Four, from Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse defense once again finding a way to advance, from Louisville overcoming a gruesome injury to Kevin Ware and taking it back to his home town to try to win the big one, and from #9 Wichita State eliminating the pesky Buckeyes and Aaron Craft to make it to the Final Four.
What makes this final four so interesting is that every team has a story and major motivation to propel themselves to National Champion status.
There was no doubt that Louisville was the best team coming into this tournament and there surely isn’t a doubt now. Sure the Kevin Ware injury will motivate the Cardinals and sure Russ Smith is an offensive machine, but Peyton Siva is the key ingredient that got them to this point.
Lucas Oil Stadium is the place the Peyton Manning built, but last Saturday, it was Peyton Siva’s house. With the exceptional speed of Siva, he was able to drive in for layups at will against a slow Duke team. Duke had no answer for Siva and this game became a blowout real quickly.
Can Wichita State handle the speed of Siva, the shooting touch of Russ Smith, and the relentless of Gorgui Dieng around the basket? I actually think that Michigan and their athleticism would be the only team to give Louisville a run for their money.
With a no pure threat on the boards and no go to guy, Cleanthony Early, Malcolm Armstead, and the rest of the Shockers will be playing on the adrenaline that got them to the Final Four. When they meet Louisville, they’ll meet a team with great defense and few deficiencies on offense and their magical run will end.
Hot and Cold
What I don’t like about Syracuse is that their offense can go cold real quickly. This is a team that couldn’t score 40 points against a Georgetown team that lost in the first round of the Big Dance. Syracuse’s asset is their defense. There’s no denying that their defense can hold any of these teams to a low scoring snooze-fest. The question will be, is there enough offense.
James Southerland is a sharp shooting 3-point specialist and Michael Carter-Williams brings the athleticism to this team, but they’re don’t have a Russ Smith or Trey Burke on their team that can single-handedly shoot them into a game. Where the big men are concerned, could you imagine Rakeem Christmas going up against Gorgui Dieng in the Finals? Dieng would eat him alive.
The bottom line is we should see the two teams with the most star power in NCAA Finals in Louisville vs. Michigan.
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Michigan is laced with talent with Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Mitch McGary. McGary is really the unsung hero of the bunch. On the season, he averages 7.4 points and 6.2 rebound , but in the Big Dance, he’s electrified crowds with his flashy behind the back assists and saves.
In the NCAA Tournament, McGary is averaging 15.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. If McGary can give a 20-10 performance against Louisville, Michigan has a chance of taking the National Championship as a #4 seed. That will be a tall order.
Free Picks- Louisville -10.5 Over Wichita State & Michigan -2.5 Over SyracuseNational Champion- Louisville