Louisville entered the 2013 NCAA Tournament as the favorites in the entire 68-team field.
The Cardinals were chosen as the No.1 overall seed in March Madness and they have not disappointed. The team ran through the Midwest Region, winning their games by an average of 22 points. Even after losing Kevin Ware to a broken leg, the club blew out Duke for a trip to the Final Four.
After getting by Wichita State on Saturday, just Michigan stand in Louisville’s way of cutting down the nets on Monday night. The two teams will face off in the college basketball national championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:23 p.m. ET on CBS. Viewers can watch a free live stream online at ncaa.com.
It won’t be easy for the Cardinals to win their first title since 1986. The Wolverines have had an impressive NCAA Tournament run of their own.
On their way to the championship game, No.4 Michigan defeated the likes of Kansas, Florida and Syracuse. They are trying to win their first title in 24 years.
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It would be hard to argue that there has been a better team in college basketball this year than Louisville. The Cardinals haven’t lost since Feb.9 and have won many of their games by double digits.
Michigan was the No.1 team in the country at one point in 2013, but struggled against some of the better teams in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have come on in March and April, though, defeating five ranked opponents in the past month.
Both clubs are led by star guards who are two of the best scorers in the nation. Russ Smith is averaging 18.9 points per game for Louisville, while Trey Burke leads Michigan at 18.5. Burke has won multiple national player of the year awards after leading the club in points, assists and steals.
No team in the tournament has been able to effectively contain the quickness of Louisville’s guards. Other than Smith, Peyton Siva has performed well, averaging 9.8 points and 5.7 assists per game this season. Junior Luke Hancock may have been the team MVP against Wichita State, scoring 20 points on six-of-nine shooting.
If both teams’ backcourts are able to match each other, the play of Mitch McGary might be the deciding factor. The freshman has exploded onto the scene in the NCAA Tournament, putting up 16 points and 11.6 rebounds a game. If he’s able to have another big game, he could the x-factor that helps put Michigan over the top.
Peyton Siva G Nik Stauskas G
Russ Smith G Trey Burke G
Wayne Blackshear F Tim Hardaway Jr. G
Chane Behanan F Glenn Robinson III F
Gorqui Dieng C Mitch McGary F