Found April 08, 2013 on
Michigan played and excelled in the Big Ten, considered the toughest conference in college basketball this season. The Wolverines spent five weeks at No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and were ranked No. 1 the week of Jan. 28.
Louisville will be favored in Monday night's national championship game at the Georgia Dome, but to say Michigan has no chance would be absolutely foolish.
Michigan has the national player of the year in guard Trey Burke, who has matured and advanced during his sophomore season to the point that he is one of the most feared offensive threats in the nation. Burke is surrounded by young teammates, including freshman forward Mitch McGary, who has developed into a beast during postseason play.
Coach John Beilein may be new to this stage but he has a proven record as a head coach, a winner everywhere he has gone. This is an opportunity for him and his program. And the Wolverines have shown the ability to handle a variety of styles in this tournament. Michigan never has seen anything quite like Rick Pitino's Cardinals, but the Wolverines already have dismissed VCU's havoc, the No. 1 seed (Kansas) in their region, and Pitino disciple Billy Donovan and his Florida Gators, not to mention Syracuse and its stifling zone.
"Rick has a tremendous tree of coaches out there, so now we're playing the man himself who invented a lot of this jump-and-run, different types of traps and changing defenses," Beilein said. "There's been some preparation involved along the line. But seeing it firsthand the way Rick does it, there will be some uniqueness to it. We've just got to get ready the best we can."
Here are three reasons Michigan will win the national championship:
They limit turnovers From the amazing statistic department: Louisville has scored 30 percent of its points off turnovers this season. In five NCAA games, the Cardinals have maintained that remarkably well, scoring 25 percent off turnovers. This season, opponents have given the ball over to the Cardinals on 27.3 of their possessions.
Ask Wichita State how those turnovers can impact a game. The Shockers went 26 minutes without a turnover Saturday, then had five on the next seven possessions. A 12-point lead quickly vanished.
But the Wolverines can counter that by doing what they've done all season. Michigan turns it over on just 14.5 percent of its total possessions. That's the best in the country. Michigan had just two turnovers on the way to a 36-25 halftime lead against Syracuse. The Wolverines finished with 10, looking a little shaky against the full-court pressure Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim elected to use to get back into the game. Burke, who has been gathering national player of the year hardware all week, has to navigate Louisville's press for the Wolverines to have a chance.
Burke is capable of heroics It must be overwhelming to arrive at the Final Four with your team and then hear your name called out as national player of the year all week long. Burke has felt the burden of leadership for Michigan all season, but with that type of hype, the scrutiny is intense.
Saturday night against Syracuse, Burke didn't live up to his billing. He made only 1-of-8 shots from the field and was held to seven points. Burke still contributed four assists, five rebounds and three steals against the Orange. Burke showed everyone what he is capable of in the Sweet 16 when he rallied the Wolverines from a 14-point deficit in the final seven minutes against Kansas and hit the long 3 that saved Michigan's season. His 23-point, 10-assist performance against the Jayhawks might have been the best individual showing in this tournament. Michigan needs that Burke to show up against Louisville.
Beilein makes good adjustments The coaching matchup weighs heavily in the favor of Pitino, and that's simply based on history and experience. With a win over the Cardinals, Beilein would become the eighth coach in the past 30 years to win the championship in his first Final Four appearance. That list includes Steve Fisher, who led the Wolverines to their last title in 1989.
Beilein is 1-3 all-time against Pitino, with his only win coming as West Virginia coach in Morgantown in 2006. Pitino is the master of in-game adjustments, but Beilein has a variety of tricks up his sleeve as well. A crowd of about 75,000 in the Georgia Dome, an enormous TV audience and viewers around the world will be judging Beilein on a different stage.
"It really helped that we just came from Dallas, playing in that big arena," Beilein said. "What I try to do is focus in as a coach and not even look around. You start looking around that place ... I did for a minute. I'm not even going to look. This is incredible what I'm seeing in front of me."
BEST OF MAXIM
Trey Burke was awarded yet another Player of Year honor as the Naismith Player of the Year was announced at the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show on Sunday evening.
The Naismith award is the fourth major Player of the Year honor that Burke received this weekend in Atlanta. Burke also received Associated Press, John Wooden and USBWA Oscar Roberston Player of the Year awards...
Michigan Basketball lost to Louisville in the National Championship game on Monday night by a final score of 82-76. It was a bitter end to a fantastic season for the Wolverines.
How the game was lost
Powered by 17 points from Spike Albrecht, Michigan opened up a 12 point lead in the first half with three minutes left to play. Louisville countered with a 14-3 run that was...
Another day, another national player of the year award for Wolverine sophomore guard Trey Burke as today he was awarded the 2013 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T.
Burke becomes the first Wolverine ever be honored with this award given out by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and only the fifth Big Ten player to receive said recognition.
The Naismith was the last of the major individual...
Michigan coach John Beilein built a career around recruiting and coaching up hard working, mostly overlooked, versatile basketball players to fit his unique system. Now at Michigan, on the eve of playing for a national championship, the system is still in place, the players are just on another level.
The Michigan Wolverines and Louisville Cardinals held their mandatory press conferences on Sunday, but there's not much left to say.
The nation's best offense will face the nation's best defense Monday night, and the winner will take home a national championship.
For the Wolverines to earn their second NCAA tournament title, they'll need a big game from Trey Burke...
Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone has prevented great guards from scoring in this tournament. Orange Nation worried Cal’s Allen Crabbe, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, and Marquette’s Vander Blue would be able to bust the zone and find ways to score. Instead, SU’s defense has been historically good and shut down all of the elite scorers its faced en route to Atlanta.
John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spike Albrecht were on the podium for Michigan after its championship game loss to Louisville. Read comments from Beilein and his players in the transcript below.
COACH BEILEIN: I’ve had a lot of really good teams over the years, some emotional locker rooms. That one was as emotional, or most emotional we’ve ever...
Shortly before CBS cut to Trey Burke receiving the Naismith Award as the top player in the country, the Michigan point guard wasn’t even the best...
1. Trey Burke (Michigan)- Burke was just named the National Player of the Year. He willed his team to victory against Kansas, by hitting a three to tie the game as time expired. Along with his scoring he is also averaging 8 apg.
2. Russ Smith (Louisville)- There is no quicker player from end to end that Smith, he can drive to the hoop 1 on 5 and score if he wants too. Smith is the...
Watch Michigan’s press conference after its five point win over Syracuse on Saturday night as John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary face the media on the podium.
Read the full transcript here.
Michigan’s starting backcourt was also available in breakout sessions this afternoon. Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas will face arguably the best pressure defense in the country on Monday evening and discussed the upcoming challenge. Watch all three players in the embedded media players below.
Hardaway and Stauskas after the jump.
Maybe you should read this in a few days.
Right now, in the hours after the game or even the next day, the weight and enormity of losing in the NCAA championship game feels crushing. The disappointment is acute and biting and it is very difficult to think about the game without feeling it.
“It hurts a lot,” Trey Burke said after Michigan’s 81-76 loss to Louisville...
ATLANTA (AP) -- Spike Albrecht had the time of his life in the first half for Michigan in the NCAA title game. With point guard Trey Burke on the bench in early foul trouble, Albrecht made all four of his 3-point shots in the half against Louisville. Michigan had a 38-37 lead at halftime, thanks to Albrecht's 17 points. Not bad for a freshman who was averaging 1.8 points...
With almost 10 minutes of game time gone by in Michigan’s 61-56 win over Syracuse on Saturday night, the Orange had jumped out to a 14-9 lead and the Wolverines were searching for offense.
Michigan’s usual scoring weapons — Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas — simply weren’t getting it done. Burke had missed the only two shots he took, Stauskas...
Last night Louisville defeated Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA Tournament National Championship Game. It was a fantastic game that featured a ton of fast break points and amazing guard play. Between Trey Burke, Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, there was plenty of excitement at the basket.
It was a great game and a lot of fun to watch.
Now the countdown to the Draft begins as we look...