March Madness 2013: Most Glaring Weaknesses on Every Final Four Team

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March Madness 2013: Most Glaring Weaknesses on Every Final Four Team
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 2013 NCAA tournament has reached the stage at which legends are often made. With the Final Four upon us, we've weeded out the weak and discovered who the elite of the elite truly are.

With that being said, every team has a glaring weakness—so what is it for each Final Four team?

The remaining four teams have proven to be some of the best of the best. Not only are they the champions of their respective regions, but they've taken down the top competition to get where they are today.

For that reason, we're inclined to paint them as elite squads without flaws.

However, even as they've reached the status of legends, we've seen how vulnerable each squad can be in specific areas. Each team must overcome issues—whether it's offense, defense or a case of size.

What could bring down each team?

 

Louisville Cardinals: Half-Court Offense

How Louisville Wins vs. How Wichita State Wins

The Louisville Cardinals are one of the most complete teams in the nation, regardless of who is left in the NCAA tournament. They're elite on defense, dominant in the open court and led by a future Hall of Fame head coach.

With that being said, Louisville struggles to piece together quality possessions while in the offensive half court.

Peyton Siva is a phenomenal defender and a quality game manager who has cut down on turnovers. Russ Smith, meanwhile, is an elite scorer who can cut into a defense in the open court and finish around the basket.

Without elite shooters, however, this slashing style of play has been limited in terms of half-court efficiency.

This has been the woe teams were able to exploit during the regular season. During the 2013 NCAA tournament, however, Smith has led an offensive charge that has produced points in the paint and transition threes.

For a team that lacks an elite pure shooter, the Cardinals compensate by being dangerous in the open court. Being forced to slow it down could lead to defeat.

 

Wichita State Shockers: Go-To Scorer

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Can Malcolm Armstead be Wichita State's go-to scorer against Louisville?
The Wichita State Shockers are one of the most difficult teams to dissect, mainly due to their lack of true weaknesses. While they're not necessarily elite, Gregg Marshall's team is well rounded and strong in virtually every category.

Their most significant area of weakness, however, is their lack of a go-to scorer.

Wichita State's balance has worked wonders early on, as the Shockers have made their way past favored opponents throughout this tournament. For instance, they defeated the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs by hitting 14 threes and received 14 points from Malcolm Armstead against No. 2 Ohio State.

However, Armstead shot just 6-of-21 against Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes. It won't get any easier against Peyton Siva and Louisville.

The Cardinals thrive in applying the full-court press and forcing turnovers. Once the opposition crosses the mid-court line, the Cardinals clamp down on the perimeter and defend the paint at an elite level with NBA prospect Gorgui Dieng down low.

Louisville holds opponents to 31.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc, which could force the Shockers to look in one specific direction. The question then becomes simple.

Who do they look to?

 

Michigan Wolverines: Defense

How Michigan Wins vs. How Syracuse Wins
When it comes to the Michigan Wolverines, their biggest deficiency is their inability to lock down on defense. They lack an elite rim-protector, fail to force turnovers at a high rate, allow a high volume of offensive rebounds and struggle to defend the perimeter.

The one thing Michigan does well on defense is play responsibly and avoid committing unnecessary personal fouls.

The Wolverines are not inept on defense, as they can come up with stops when they need them. However, they are often caught attempting to play the passing lanes instead of remaining in front of their respective assignments.

Even with the recent rise of Mitch McGary on the glass, there is a cause for concern when it comes to the Wolverines defense—whether in the 1-3-1 form or not.

With all of this being noted, the Wolverines' undersized rotation will go up against a Syracuse team that plays in a similar manner. If Michigan fails to protect the rim, however, it will pay the price.

History doesn't bode well in this instance.

 

Syracuse Orange: Offensive Guard Play

Rob Carr/Getty Images
When on his game, Michael Carter-Williams is an elite playmaker who can score and facilitate at a top-tier level. When Brandon Triche is at his best, the powerful combo guard can penetrate or step back for a jump shot.

Unfortunately, Carter-Williams and Triche haven't shown up on a consistent basis throughout the season.

The two guards combine for 6.1 turnovers per game, and they collectively shoot 29.4 percent from beyond the arc, yet they still combine for 7.3 three-point attempts per game.

Do you see the signs?

If Carter-Williams and Triche show up, the Orange can defeat any caliber of opponent. They've proven that by holding the opposition to 45.8 points per contest during the 2013 NCAA tournament.

If MCW and Triche fail to contribute in the manner expected of them, however, Syracuse's offense will stall—something it can't afford against Naismith Award finalist Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines.

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