Final Four 2013: Louisville and Michigan Will Advance to Championship Game
Louisville and Michigan are primed to win their Final Four matchups against Wichita State and Syracuse.
These two teams are playing their best at the right time, and they'll advance to play one another in the 2013 NCAA championship game.
All four teams left in the tournament have legitimate shots at winning the entire thing, but the Cardinals and Wolverines look unstoppable at this point, and here are the reasons why.
Louisville (1) vs. Wichita State (9)
Losing Kevin Ware could have knocked the wind out of Louisville's sails. From the way the players reacted to his broken leg, it looked like the Cardinals would not be able to handle the emotional stress of the situation.
The way they responded, though—whipping Duke 51-30 in the second half of their Elite Eight matchup—proved that the will of this team is indomitable.
Team of destiny? Perhaps not, but Louisville is a team that knows how to overcome adversity and thrive under pressure, and it has won 14 games in a row.
Russ Smith is on an epic roll right now. He's averaging 26 points per game, and the on-ball pressure he and fellow guard Peyton Siva are able to apply will continue to lead to fast-break points.
Head coach Rick Pitino has an edge over Gregg Marshall in terms of experience, and the way he was able to lead his team through the harrowing experience of Ware's injury showed how much his leadership means to Louisville.
Wichita State overcame the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the West to get to the Final Four. This is a team that must be taken seriously. Point guard Malcolm Armstead is playing excellent ball right now.
With that being said, he'll struggle against Louisville's pressure defense, and the Shockers' impressive run in the 2013 NCAA tournament will come to an end.
Michigan (4) vs. Syracuse (4)
Michigan has averaged nearly 79 points per game in its first four contests—the last being a 79-59 blowout win against Florida, which featured the No. 3 scoring defense in the NCAA, allowing just 53.7 points per game.
Next up for the Wolverines is Syracuse, which has allowed just 45.7 points per game in its four tournament games. The Orange have relied on a stifling 2-3 zone that recently shut down Indiana's No. 5-ranked offense to the tune of just 50 points.
Something has to give.
Given the way Michigan was able to dominate Florida's stiff defense in the Elite Eight, it would be foolish to pick against the Wolverines.
Trey Burke has done it all for Michigan thus far, averaging 15.5 points, 7.75 assists, three rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the tournament. He's been complemented by an inspired effort from freshman forward Mitch McGary, who has averaged 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.75 steals per game.
Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams has also been hot, but he doesn't have the offensive support Burke does.
Michigan may not score 80 points against Syracuse, but will score enough to move on to the championship game.
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