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2013 NCAA National Championship Preview and Game Thread

Michigan and Louisville square off tonight for the right to call themselves the best team in college basketball.


Tonight is going to be the last time that you have to read me gushing over Trey Burke and how awesome I think he is. You already know exactly how I feel about him and how I think he is one of, if not the only can't miss prospect in this year's draft.

That is until the Sonics Rising Team writes one of our over 50 draft related columns (not even joking, you guys have some history to learn and some catching up to do on the league) starting in May. You'll get a bit of a respite from Trey Burke after this.

So let's actually talk about the biggest college basketball game of 2013. We have the Louisville Cardinals, the number one overall seed in the tournament, led by Brooklyn native, Russ Smith and Franklin High School product, Peyton Siva.

Then we have the hottest player in the tournament, a man who says he is not going pro (Mitch McGary) teaming up with the sons of former NBA greats (Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glen Robinson III), the great Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines.

Tale of the Tape
























North Carolina A&T
Colorado State
Wichita State

Teams Beat in Tourney

South Dakota State
Virginia Commonwealth

Russ Smith
Gorgui Deing
Peyton Siva

Best Three

Trey Burke
Mitch McGary
Tim Hardaway Jr.

Chane Behanan

X Factor

Nik Stauskas

The biggest matchup of the day outside of the guard play is going to be down in the trenches between McGary and Geing. Both guys are the team's best rebounders and best low post threats. The only down fall to this matchup is how horrendous they both are at the line. McGary is shooting a Benoit Benjaminish 40% from the charity stripe and Deing is more in the Michael Cage range of 65%.

The real keys to the game are going to be how Siva guards Stauskas and how Russ Smith stops Burke from getting into the paint and creating open shots for his teammates.

The Syracuse zone really kept the stats low for both Burke and Stauskas. We shouldn't expect to see the same thing on Monday night though. Louisville plays most of the game with a press man to man type defense. They'll pick up full court the whole game if they have to. Trapping Burke might night be the answer, he has above average handles and plays angles so well. He's one of those players that know where a defender is going to be before the defender gets there.

If Burke can beat the press he's going to open up some big transition opportunities for the Wolverines. This is where Staukas thrives. He loves to get lost in the shuffle and spot up from the corner or tight wing where he is absolutely deadly.

Ask Florida about trapping and letting Burke penetrate and find Staukas on the wings.

Louisville is about the same offensively. Russ Smith is an irrational confidence guy. He can drive and kick with the best of them or put up 30 footers.

Smith's best attribute though and something that could get him in the league is his on the ball defense. He's a beast in the press, extremely fast hands and will mug you little bit. He's not afraid to be physical at all.

For Louisville to be successful, Peyton Siva has to show up in this game. He can't completely disappear like he did against Wichita State. He doesn't have the skill set of a Trey Burke where he can affect a game without filling up the stat sheet.

My fiery love for Trey Burke tells me Michigan wins this big, but my rational basketball nerd inside me screams at me to pay attention to the stats, trends and the fact I rewatched both semi-final games two more times and go with a real pick.

Real pick being Louisville throws enough different defensive looks at the young Michigan team to confuse them and keep them on their heels, Trey Burke does everything he can, but Michigan ultimately falls, 68-61.