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Hold on to your hats, it’s Louisville vs. Michigan on Monday!

Apr 7, 2013, 12:23 AM EDT

Michigan v Syracuse Getty Images

No Cinderellas in the title game this year. It’s going to be all Big Time, all the way.

Let’s recap:

Rick Pitino is one of the most well-known college basketball coaches in the nation. He’s on his way into the hall of fame, his horse just punched its ticket to the Kentucky Derby, and his son was just hired to be the head coach at Minnesota. If it weren’t for that whole “player suffering a horrifying leg injury on live TV” thing, you’d think the elder Coach Pitino is living a truly charmed life right now.

John Beilein may not have as much obvious personal success going for him as Pitino, but check out his roster and you know fortune has smiled on him. He’s got the sons of NBA players like Tim Hardaway, Tito Horford and Glenn Robinson ready to go, alongside Player of the Year Trey Burke and some tall guy named Mitch McGary who seems to have blossomed of late.

MORE: The agony of Wichita State’s missed chance

Finding storylines in Atlanta will be like shooting fish in a barrel, so let’s take a brief look at the down and dirty of the matchups.

Frontcourt: Louisville has Gorgui Dieng (10.2 points, 2.5 blocks per game), Chane Behanan (9.6 ppg) and Wayne Blackshear (7.6 ppg) going up against Glenn Robinson III (11 ppg) and Mitch McGary (7.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg). In the Final Four, Michigan’s starting frontcourt showed a more deft scoring touch, and if McGary keeps playing the way he has over the past two games, this matchup tilts easily in Michigan’s favor. Dieng’s shot-blocking prowess would seem to be a factor until you consider that McGary handled Jeff Withey just fine in the Sweet Sixteen.

MORE: How McGary moved Michigan to the title game

Backcourt: Here’s where the real fireworks happen. Burke vs. Siva is an intriguing point guard matchup, as we all will watch breathlessly to see if the basket-challenged Siva can put the clamps on premium scorer Burke. Tim Hardaway, Jr. going up against the lightning-quick Russ Smith will be something to see, as well. Things get a bit murkier on the wing, where Nik Stauskas may see more of Luke Hancock instead of Blackshear. If Smith can keep from doing anything too Russdiculous, this one is close.

Bench: Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert have put in important minutes for Michigan, and held their own pretty well. Louisville, on the other hand, has a couple of guys who have gone off recently, in Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock. Now, Hancock played 31 minutes in Atlanta already, so his bench status is a bit of a technicality on some nights, but we have to give the edge to the Cards.

On sheer talent, this is Michigan’s game. On experience and coaching savvy, it’s Louisville all the way.

MORE: Louisville’s unsung heroes thwart Shockers

In terms of style, Michigan has shown an ability to play at any speed. The Wolverines wrecked VCU, which plays a style very similar to what Louisville does, and they’ve run with Kansas, banged with Florida and carved up the Syracuse zone. Louisville has won 15 straight and seems to be able to force the tempo of the game to their own pace. That’s where the true yin-yang of this whole final coalesces. Fortunately, I don’t know which style will win – not knowing is what makes it so intriguing.

Hold on to your hats (especially you, Tim Hardaway, Sr.!) this is going to be an epic title game.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. polegojim - Apr 7, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    Yes… Hold on to EVERY piece of your clothing.

    Young Guns – Can’t wait…

    Go BLUE!!!

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      without the help of the refs UM would be going home
      not the title game, blocking foul not a charge!

      • midwestmd - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        LOL not nearly as bad as the “jump ball” that salted it away for Louisville. It wasn’t a bad call by the refs that sunk the Orange it was Michigan’s D, and it was the Wolverines really poor free throw shooting that nearly gave it back to Syracuse. Better practice from the line 24/7 till Monday.

      • polegojim - Apr 7, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        Oh Please…. what about the entire REST of the game???

        You know there were two COMPLETE halves, right?

        And your crystal ball tells you EXACTLY what would have happened if the call went against Michigan???

        Mine says that only one free throw would have been made by Syracuse… and Michigan wins by 3.

        Ok – you feel better now?

      • polegojim - Apr 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        Exactly midwest… should not have even been close.

        Our coach used to make us run line drills for every missed free throw – we miss THAT many… and it was doubled…

        I can’t figure out how McGary can have such a sweet jump shot… and such a horrible foul shot.

        More WORK!

  2. llfreedman - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    I need to clear up this misconception- McGary played well ALL YEAR. Morgan got hurt and then Beilein got smart and started giving McGary all the minutes. So you can’t really say McGary has just blossomed, but you can say his production has increased with the increased minutes. Keep in mind this is coming from an IU fan.

    • latemoney - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      His production and minutes increased as his conditioning improved. He’s lost at least 15 lbs since early in the season.

  3. skyboxtalk - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    So that’s Al Horford’s son now, huh??

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      the only reason that UM is going to title game is the
      publicity whore ncaa can’t get enough of the nba daddy stories.
      the refs should be ashamed of themselves for stealing the game
      away from ‘cuse.

      • midwestmd - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:17 AM

        Don’t be a sore loser. It was the bad free throw shooting my Michigan that even gave the Orange a chance. They got crushed at the end of the fist with the 3 point game and Michigna heald the lead most of the entire game. The Shockers have a reason to hate the refs though.

  4. lionsmark09 - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Wow! People are bitter. It was a good game but people wanna complain about something. Refs didn’t decide this game, stupid play by Cuse did.

  5. hof32mlb - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    If Louisville wins, wouldn’t it be great to see the team bring out a hydraulic lift, place it under the basket and hoist Kevin Ware and the game’s MVP to cut down the net?

  6. ebrownwareagle - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    @skyboxtalk

    No, his brother…. Both sons of former NBA player Tito Horford.

  7. harvupdyke - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    It’s amazing what one overrated team can do when they hit one lucky ass shot.

    Sure hope the new Ed Martin isn’t overindulging these d-bags that ‘call Michigan’ home…

    #notimeoutsinanationalchampionshipgame

    Roll dam tide.

    • midwestmd - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Other than Kansas “that overrated team” has “rolled” right through the NCAA tourney. Where is Alabama? That’s right the NIT, and they got bounced out of that best of the rest tourney.
      Go Blue!

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