Michigan vs. Syracuse: Key Storylines in Final Four Matchup

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 31:  Trey Burke #3 of the Michigan Wolverines drives between Scottie Wilbekin #5 and Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators in the first half during the South Regional Round Final of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 31, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The evening Final Four matchup presents an intriguing clash of styles as the No. 4 seed Syracuse Orange take on the No. 4 seed Michigan Wolverines with a berth to the championship game on the line.

In this game, two potential top 10 picks will go one-on-one at the point guard position. Michael Carter-Williams and Trey Burke have been catalysts for their teams’ deep runs and will be able to presumably finish their college careers on a high note.

Yet only Michigan will truly let their floor general guard the other top NBA prospect, as Syracuse’s 2-3 zone will be in full force at the Georgia Dome. The zone has flummoxed all of ‘Cuse’s opponents thus far.

Then again, the Wolverines showed against Florida that the zone may not be the best counter to their offensive firepower.

More on that later, as the top storylines of the game are examined below.



Michael Carter-Williams vs. Trey Burke

Both point guards have played up to their potential this tournament, but only one will have the final impression on NBA scouts and basketball fans alike.

Burke has been the consummate Wooden Award winner all season, so his play hasn’t been much of a surprise.

His point guard abilities, though, have seemed to improve as his teammates Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas are playing at an extraordinary level.

Carter-Williams, on the other hand, struggled with shooting woes and turnover issues before putting everything together during the Big East tournament.

He has become an all-around player during the Orange’s postseason run, and NBA personnel have taken notice.



Can Michigan Continue Its Offensive Success Against Syracuse’s 2-3 Zone?

The matchup of the night pits the two top offensive and defensive units of the tournament through the eye test.

Opposing teams haven’t been able to deal with Syracuse’s length and athleticism playing the 2-3. The Orange have allowed only 45 points on average during this NCAA tournament.

If the Wolverines can shoot well from behind the arc, then Michigan won’t need to worry about going through the tooth of the Orange's zone.

If Michigan is able to penetrate, as it has been doing all tournament, they will be facing a different beast with all of the long athletes Jim Boeheim employs.

That will ultimately be the deciding factor in what is sure to be a thrilling contest. 



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Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow his March Madness coverage on Twitter.