Final Four weekend features some of the best players and coaches, and a few usually stand out that are deserving of recognition. This year is no different and there are some truly impressive people deserving of awards.
The Louisville Cardinals and Michigan Wolverines will be playing for a national championship. Here are a few predictions including the winner of the game and recipients of a couple of awards.
National Champion: Michigan Wolverines
Both of these teams feature some incredible talent and more than a couple of players with serious NBA potential. Picking between two great programs like this is no easy task, but the Michigan Wolverines have the slight edge.
Trey Burke may not have played his best basketball over the tournament, but he’s been clutch when the team needed him to be. In the Sweet 16 matchup against Kansas, he was able to drain this buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime:
The remainder of the starting lineup consists of Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr., all players that are capable of scoring in double figures.
The Cardinals will still be a tough challenge. They have their own big names in Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng who can play offense and defense very well. The team does a great job creating turnovers, forcing an average of over 19 per game.
It’s hard to pick against Rick Pitino, but Michigan just has too many weapons. It will still be a close game, but when you have Burke on your team, you’re capable of winning every time.
Predicted Score: Michigan 70, Louisville 65
Most Outstanding Player: Mitch McGary
He may not have been the biggest name before the tournament, but McGary has been absolutely fantastic during the first five games of the tournament. During the season, McGary has only averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Something must have happened once the tournament started, because McGary started going off.
Since the start of the tournament, McGary has been averaging 16 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 2.2 steals per game. He’s been doing a terrific job on both sides of the ball, and he’s been a big reason why the Wolverines have been able to pull out wins even when Burke has been struggling.
The national championship game will be a tough challenge for McGary, as he will be going against one of the best defensive players in the country in Dieng. He uses his size and length to alter shots as well as swat them into the stands. He makes it difficult for anyone trying to score in the paint.
McGary has the talent to do beat Dieng. He has a decent mid-range game that he will need to use more, but he can certainly do it. One more big game will make McGary the clear favorite for the award for the Most Outstanding Player.
Best Coach: Gregg Marshall
The Wichita State Shockers may have lost to the Cardinals, but the amazing run by the No. 9 seed makes Marshall the clear choice for the best coach in tournament.
The team may not have had a true impact player, but it did have an incredibly deep team that Marshall used to the fullest. That depth helped the Shockers pull of some major upsets over teams like No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Ohio State.
They may not have been the lowest seed to make it to the Final Four, but they were the first-ever No. 9 seed, and any team with that low of a seeding deserves a lot of credit. Marshall was an excellent motivator and his team found ways to win four straight games.