NCAA Tournament 2013: Biggest Area of Concern for Each Final Four Team

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

Mar 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Trey Burke (3) reacts after hitting a three-point shot to tie the game with six seconds against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half during the semifinals of the South regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No team is perfect.

If there's one thing this college basketball season has taught us, it's that any team can be beaten. Obtaining the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll seemed like a death sentence as much as it was an accomplishment. As soon as your team got the top of the mountain, it seemed to fall off just as quickly.

The Louisville Cardinals have been the best team in this tournament. They have definite weaknesses, though, just as every other Final Four team does. Now it's all about finding and exploiting those problem areas.

Here is the biggest area of concern for each of the four teams left in the NCAA tournament.


Louisville Cardinals: Peyton Siva Getting in Foul Trouble

Peyton Siva has recorded more fouls than any other Cardinals player. He's averaging 2.7 a game, which is actually an improvement from last year, when that number was 3.4.

When Siva is not on the floor, Louisville just isn't the same basketball team. That much was evident in the Sweet 16 in its 77-69 win over the Oregon Ducks. Siva got into foul trouble early and was only able to play 19 minutes of the game. He recorded just four points and three assists.

Aside from being the floor general, Siva is important because of the players now behind him. With the injury to Kevin Ware, Rick Pitino needs Siva on the court.


Wichita State Shockers: Finding Answer for Russ Smith

Wichita State needs to figure out something no team has this tournament: how to stop Russ Smith. Smith has been one of the biggest stars during the regular season, and he's continued that play into the Big Dance. He's gone for 104 points in Louisville's four tournament games.

The Shockers have been great at hitting the boards so far, but in the Cardinals, they'll meet a team almost as equally skilled at rebounding.

Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas were neutralized in Wichita State's upset of the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris of the Gonzaga Bulldogs had similar games.

If Wichita State can't slow down Smith, there's no chance the Shockers walk out with a win.


Michigan Wolverines: Trey Burke's Shooting

Game-tying three-pointer aside, Trey Burke hasn't had a great tournament. He's scored 62 points, which is good, but those points have come on just 22-of-63 shooting.

Part of what has made Burke so great this season is his offensive efficiency. He put up good scoring totals without taking and missing a ton of shots. That skill has largely been absent this tournament.

Going up against a team like Syracuse, Burke is going to need to bring his best. The Orange's patented zone defense has swallowed up everything in its path. If Burke struggles to get going again, it could be like the Kansas-Michigan game, only Syracuse won't choke the game away like the Jayhawks did.


Syracuse Orange: Scoring

Syracuse wins games with defense. The Orange are only averaging 70.8 points a game, so it's a good thing that zone is so effective.

Should they get into a track meet, the Orange could be in big trouble.

Good shooting always gives zone defenses fits. Michigan has good shooters in spades. The Wolverines are sixth in the country in field-goal percentage, at 48.5 percent a game. That's quite an accomplishment considering the strength of some Big Ten teams defensively.

The aforementioned Burke, along with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas are all good outside shooters. If one or any combination of that trio gets hot, Syracuse will not have an answer offensively.


Link to Printable PDF
Link to Live Bracket

Follow all the exciting NCAA tournament action with March Madness Live.