The easy answer is Louisville. They are playing great and have a little extra to play for after the gruesome Kevin Ware injury.
But I have been on the Michigan bandwagon all season and I’m not jumping off now.
Michigan is no doubt one of the most talented teams in the nation.
Led by sophomore point guard Trey Burke, the Wolverines are balanced offensively and have weapons all over the floor.
Burke is arguably the best point guard in the entire country and one of the favorites for player of the year. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a talented wing who can do a little bit of everything from spreading the floor with his shooting to getting to the rim and finishing.
Freshman Nik Stauskas is one of the best shooters in college basketball and one of those guys who you are genuinely surprised when he misses.
If Michigan has any weaknesses, it’s on the interior. Jordan Morgan is a big body who can compete physically with just about anybody. However, his offensive ability is limited.
Freshman Mitch McGary has played well and the tournament and provided offensive firepower.
To win it all, the Wolverines will need Morgan and McGary to play well.
Michigan, despite its weaknesses, is still my pick to win it all Monday night.
It’s rare in sports when you know something is coming and you can’t stop it. Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook. And as we are learning this season, Syracuse’s 2-3 zone.
The Orange play almost exclusively zone defense. While many other teams try it, nobody can do it as well as Syracuse. Coach Jim Boeheim has perfected it.
Top seeded Indiana came into their Sweet 16 matchup featuring one of the most efficient and fastest offenses in the country. However, they could only score 50 points in 65 possessions against the vaunted defense.
Syracuse won’t allow Michigan to get any fast break points in their Final Four game. Michael Carter-Williams is one of the best point guards in the country and will give Michigan’s Trey Burke, a national player of the year candidate, all he can handle.
When they face Louisville in the championship, they will also slow them down. While the Cardinals were too fast for Duke’s guards and able to get into the paint, it’s going to be nearly impossible to drive against Syracuse’s zone defense.
Add in the offensive of C.J. Fair and 6-foot-8-inch James Southerland, and the Orange will be prepared to watch their highlights to the sound of “One Shining Moment” in Atlanta.