NCAA Tournament 2013: Predictions for Louisville vs. Duke, Florida vs. Michigan

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 29:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils talks with his players during a timeout against the Michigan State Spartans during the Midwest Region Semifinal round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2013 NCAA tournament has been one of the wildest to date, and the excitement over Sunday’s Elite Eight action has the college basketball world at a fever pitch.

Not only are the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals squaring off against the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils in a dream battle, the matchup between the No. 3 Florida Gators and the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines is shaping up to be one of the most unexpected and exciting games of the tournament.

Sunday is a holiday for many people, but to every college basketball fan in the world, any day when the sport has two amazing matchups like this Elite Eight action is worth celebrating.


No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 5 Florida on CBS at 2:20 p.m. ET

Despite being the higher seed, the No. 5 Florida Gators are favored in this game by three points (h/t, but the team and head coach Billy Donovan are too smart to let the hype around this matchup get to their head.

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines are not a team that can be taken lightly, especially since the players have gotten stronger and more confident together with every passing game.

From a 78-53 blowout win over VCU to a stunning 87-85 overtime victory against No. 1 seed Kansas, the Wolverines have played their best basketball of the season in the NCAA tournament.

Talk about saving the best for last.

Michigan will need all of the talent and luck it used to get this far to beat Florida, though, which has made it this far predicated on hard work and natural skill on offense and defense.

Each team averages more than 70 points, 14 assists and 35 rebounds per game (the two teams are ridiculously close in almost every major statistical category), but it's each program's commitment to giving effort at both ends of the floor that will result in a hard-fought battle.

Predicted Final Score: Florida 77, Michigan 73


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 1 Louisville on CBS at 5:05 p.m. ET

As great as Sunday’s early game is shaping up to be, the Elite Eight action later on in the afternoon—the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals vs. the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils—is the matchup that has college basketball fans salivating.

Two of the biggest powerhouse programs in the sport coached by two bona fide legends (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville’s Rick Pitino) will square off for the right to advance to the Final Four in Atlanta.

Duke has the offensive advantage on paper, ranking sixth in the sport with 78.3 points per game, but the Blue Devils will be facing a Cardinals team that has won 13 straight games and has averaged more than 79 points per tournament game this season.

Despite the advantage in offensive statistics for Duke coming into Sunday, Louisville is the rightful 3.5-point favorite (h/t and will give the Blue Devils their toughest game of the season.

As talented as Duke is with Seth Curry running the point and Mason Plumlee down low, the Cardinals are too good across their own starting lineup—with talented guards like Peyton Siva and Russ Smith as well as center Gorgui Dieng—to become susceptible to the Blue Devils offense.

Predicted Final Score: Louisville 76, Duke 71


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