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2013 NCAA Tournament Final Four Preview: Syracuse vs Michigan

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What has two quality teams, a legendarily grumpy coach and a spot in our TV viewing plans for Saturday? That is right, it is the Final Four match-up of the Syracuse Orange vs the Michigan Wolverines. Or what cool kids like to call, the battle of two power-conference teams who are looking to end their season on an extremely high-note (Wait, maybe cool kids don’t say that).

What to Watch For

The Syracuse 2-3 zone has become the star of the tournament. It is weird to say that an inanimate object, or thing really, has been the biggest story line for the Orange’s run, but it is true. Teams are having a hard time getting to the middle of the zone which has resulted in a slew of bad jumpers being hurled towards the basket. The key for the Orange will be to continue to implement the zone, but be able to shy away from it if it somehow does not work in great success.

To be fair though, Syracuse has played the same form of defense since our parents were children. So I wouldn’t be shocked if they rode the zone until Jim Boeheim‘s head literally explodes from stupid questions by media members.

Michigan is considered a pretty good jump-shooting team. The key to their success is to ruin the zone as soon as humanly possible. If Trey Burke or Tim Hardway Jr. were able to make some early long-range bombs — it would then force the Orange to extend their zone. That would ultimately end up making the middle of it weaker and more susceptible to penetration. The match-up of a slew of shooters vs an inanimate object is as good a thing to watch as anything, ever.


Zone vs shooting. Which really means that game’s closeness will rely on whether or not Michigan has a soft touch or not. I will go with the zone over shooters because of its humorous success so far in the dance.

Syracuse 72 Michigan 71


Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone