Tonight we have the Final Four. One of the games will see Michigan take on Syracuse. For Michigan this will be their first Final Four appearance in 20 years. 2003 saw Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and that year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Carmelo Anthony defeat the University of Kansas to win the NCAA Tournament.
The main headline of this game will be the Michigan offense taking on the Syracuse defense. Michigan has a fast paced offence led by Trey Burke. Syracuse’s defense proved to be dominant in the tournament so far. It held Indiana to 50 points and Marquette to 39 points. The Orange average 15.6 turnovers per game. Michigan can’t average that many turnovers and still win the game.
On the plus side for the Wolverines is how well they have been doing beyond the 3-point line to avoid blocks on closeouts and the forwards have practiced high-low sets to try to find space in the low post. The Wolverines love to utilize their pick-and-roll offense that gives Burke the ability to drive off the screen, dump it in the post or kick out to a shooter. Syracuse will try to shut that down, but if Michigan can get past the Orange with great ball movement.
What about the other side of the coin? Michigan’s defense will try to shut down the Orange offense. Michigan will have their hands full trying to contain Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche. Carter-Williams has been coming up huge for Syracuse and the Wolverines will have to stop him if they hope to move on to the championship game.
One trend the Orange wants to see continue is the head to head coaching matchup of Jim Boeheim against John Beilein. Boeheim has won all nine games when these two coaches faced each other. For Beilein he has never had such a strong roster as he has this year. Boeheim may have years of tournament experience, but these two are not on the court, the players are so Beilein has a great shot at stopping Boeheim’s streak.
This game looks to be close and come down to the waning seconds of the game. I feel that Michigan has the greater chance of moving on. Don’t be surprised to see this game going into overtime.