The Louisville Cardinals are slight favorites tonight, at least in the eyes of the Vegas odds makers, in what promises to be another dandy of a National Title finale.
The two teams:
In one corner stands Rick Pitino and his Cardinals who hope to win the title the old fashioned way–with defense. They look the part of a champion in every aspect, with an elite backcourt, a formidable frontcourt, and one of the most tenacious defensive strategies in the country.
While Louisville’s Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, and Gorgui Dieng are undeniably big names, and incredible basketball players, the team in corner opposite them, the Michigan Wolverines, really brings the star power to Hotlanta. John Beilein’s Wolverines feature such stars (and future NBAers) as Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III. Michigan developed into the most electrifying offensive act in the country this season, while also refining their defense.
These teams are going to provide some serious entertainment tonight!
And now…For the pick:
Defense wins championships. Louisville is world-class defensively. I think that gives them the advantage tonight. The big variable that could decide the game tonight is the play of Louisville’s Senegalese center, Gorgui Dieng and Louisville’s other bigs. Dieng will need to stay out of foul trouble and keep Michigan big man Mitch McGary off the glass as much as he can. I think he will rise to the challenge, as he has done all year. If he doesn’t, Louisville bigs Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan can also fill the rebounding role. If Louisville can keep Michigan from getting too many open threes and Dieng and friends can dominate the boards, Michigan will probably be out of luck.
I like the Cardinals to win by a final of 60 to 53.