NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan vs. Louisville ATS

Steven Suarez

Sunday, April 7, 2013 5:35 PM GMT

Two worthy programs will square off for the right to be named national champion. Will it be the Cardinals or Wolverines that bring home the title?

 

Odds Overview

Louisville, the number one overall seed in the tournament, has opened up as a four-point favorite on the college basketball odds boards, though three-and-a-half can also be found at certain books.

So far this season and in the tournaments, the Cardinals have gone 23-16 ATS, while the Wolverines are at 19-16-1 ATS.

Louisville Cardinals

It took everything the Cardinals had to battle back and top a feisty and well-coached Wichita State team in the Final Four.

On the ropes for much of the game, Louisville hung around by hitting some timely shots, and then went on a run in the closing minutes to break the hearts of Shockers fans. Final score: Louisville 72, Wichita State 68.

If you didn't watch the game, you may glance over the box score and think that Russ Smith was the difference maker. After all, he did score a team-high 21 points. But it was Luke Hancock that was the best player for Louisville in the win.

Hancock's calming presence and clutch shotmaking were crucial. He hit 6-of-9 shots, including 3-of-5 from three, to finish with 20 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

Ultimately, it was Louisville's second unit that won them the game. Hancock was outstanding, but Montrezl Harrell and Tim Henderson made some hugely important plays as well.

Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines couldn't cash a spread for their backers to save their lives to close out their regular season, but it's been the complete opposite during March Madness. 

Having won SU and ATS in each of their NCAA tournament wins so far, Michigan has been making a lot of money for those that have been faithful. 

Along the way the Wolverines have beaten some of the biggest college basketball programs in the nation. They first overcame San Diego State and VCU, and then beat Kansas, Florida, and Syracuse to earn their spot in the title game. 

Despite struggling to find their offensive rhythm against the Orange zone, Michigan did enough defensively to stay in control. They held Michael Carter-Williams to two points and two assists, while forcing five turnovers from the Syracuse point guard. 

For the Wolverines, Trey Burke couldn't buy a bucket (seven points on 1-of-8 shooting), but Mitch McGary turned in another stat-stuffing performance, ending up with 10 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway, Jr. combined for 23 points. 

[gameodds]14/226211/43-19-999996-92/us[/gameodds]

ATS Pick 

You couldn't ask for a better national championship game. These two teams have been terrific throughout the tournament, but only one will be standing proud when everything's said and done on Monday night. 

So, what's the best college basketball pick here? Do we go with Smith and the Cardinals, or Burke and the Wolverines? 

Tough call, but we actually like the points with Michigan. We foresee a lot of people riding the emotional angle and backing Louisville, but the Wolverines are incredibly talented and deep, making those points attractive. If Burke can avoid turning the ball over and get everyone involved, we really like the underdogs here. 

The fact Michigan was able to overcome some poor performances from their star players and still beat an excellent Syracuse team speaks volumes about their makeup. This should be an amazing game, but in the end we are rolling with the Wolverines to get the cover.

Pick: Michigan Wolverines +4 at Pinnacle