NCAA Championship Game 2013: Keys to Victory for Louisville and Michigan
A national title is set for either Michigan or Louisville as they take the floor in Atlanta for the NCAA tournament championship game. Louisville is viewed as the favorite, but Michigan is certainly capable of finishing the night cutting down the nets.
Each team has survived a close call this tournament as Michigan knocked off No. 1 Kansas in overtime and Louisville trailed Wichita State for most of their Final Four matchup.
In order to come away victorious in the biggest game of the year, each squad will need to be at its best.
Here are the keys for each team to win the game.
Keys for Michigan
Take Care of the Basketball
It all starts with point guard and Naismith Player of the Year Trey Burke.
If he can take care of the basketball and smoothly run the Michigan offense, the Wolverines have a good shot at beating Louisville. Limiting turnovers could also frustrate the Louisville defense and lead defenders to foul.
Throughout most of the tournament, Burke has done a decent job protecting the ball. He's averaging three turnovers per game, but his seven-turnover performance against VCU skewed the average.
To win the title, he needs to be under three turnovers and in complete control.
Knock Down Shots
Michigan has been winning its games despite poor shooting performances from its best players. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. have been especially bad, shooting a combined 5-of-24 from the field in the Final Four matchup against Syracuse.
If the Wolverines can get better shooting performances from Burke and Hardaway while also getting solid games from Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, they will be tough to beat.
Against a stout Louisville defense, Michigan will need all the shooting it can get.
Keys for Louisville
Disrupt Michigan's Offense
Louisville's title run has been fueled by strong team performances and solid defense both at the end of the regular season and the NCAA tournament.
Peyton Siva has been an absolute monster during the last stretch of the season. He's averaging 2.2 steals per game over the year, but through the Big East and NCAA tournaments, he has upped that number to three per game.
Michigan guard Trey Burke is susceptible to turning the ball over. If Siva can get in his head a few times by stealing the ball away, Louisville should be able to throw off the Michigan offense and have a strong chance to win the game.
Exploit Size Mismatch
Down the stretch, Louisville has gotten great play from its bigs. Gorgui Dieng has been great for the Cardinals throughout most of the tournament. The center has done a good job to both protect the rim and be a force on offense.
Michigan, on the other hand, doesn't have a true center in their rotation and relies on Mitch McGary as its big.
This key comes down to using Dieng to over-power McGary in the paint and take advantage of Michigan's lack of size by going to the basket. Louisville's athletically gifted guards should be able to get to the rim and finish.
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