The Wolverines’ offense is considered the most efficient in the nation. Almost every player on the roster has a shot that can change the game. Point guard Trey Burke, the national player of the year, averages 18.5 points per game, though he shot 1-of-8 Saturday against Syracuse. Louisville averages 74 ppg., while Michigan averages 75 ppg.
Louisville’s press eventually took effect against Wichita State in the Final Four victory and has rattled many an opponent. The Cardinals’ defense ranks tops nationally. They force 18 turnovers per game. Michigan’s defense has improved since the tournament began; the Wolverines have held four of their five opponents to fewer than 60 points.
There’s no doubt Michigan coach John Beilein is one of the most well-respected coaches, and his reputation has been enhanced because of this tournament. But Louisville’s Rick Pitino reportedly is set to enter the Hall of Fame — and deservedly so. Both are known for meticulous game preparation, but Pitino has been here before.
As much as the Fab Five is celebrated, Michigan is playing to write a new history. In their first championship game since the 1993 team’s appearance, which later was vacated, the Wolverines are looking for their first title since 1989.
THE PICK: Louisville