NCAA Men’s Championship Game: 5 Bold Predictions
Five Game Day Predictions For National Championship Game
The NCAA National Championship is finally upon us! On Monday night, all of the madness will come to a head when the No. 4 seed Michigan Wolverines will take on the No. 1 seed Louisville Cardinals to be named the best team in the nation.
It has been an unbelievable run for both teams, fighting their way through the field to stand atop the mountain of college basketball. The wins have been hard fought, and despite a couple of officiating controversies, they were all well deserved.
Louisville suffered the horror of losing guard Kevin Ware to one of the nastiest injuries the tournament has seen. The emotion fueled the Cardinals to a win over the Duke Blue Devils, and into the Final Four, where they faced an extremely tough Wichita State team. Louisville had to dig deep and overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half to squeak out a four-point win against the Shockers. Nothing about those wins was easy, but the Cardinals have willed their way into the most important game of the season.
On the other side of the court stands the Michigan Wolverines. Despite having held the distinction as No. 1 in the nation during the season, no one really believed they would make it this far into the tourney. Instead of bowing out though, Michigan has proven they belong, winning in nearly every way imaginable. Whether it has been come-from-behind, overtime thrillers, or wire-to-wire blowouts, the Wolverines have fought to earn their position as one of the final two teams left standing.
The following are five bold predictions surrounding Monday night’s match-up. See what you think and leave your comments in the section at the bottom of the page. You can also reach out to us on twitter using the hash tag #RML, for Rant My Life.
Protect the Pill Against the Steal
Michigan controls the ball better than anyone in the nation. At 9.37 turnovers a game, the Wolverines are as good as it gets, but they will be facing a Louisville team that is second in the nation in steals at 10.8 a game. My bold prediction is that Michigan will beat the press of the Cardinals and turn the ball over just once.
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
Gorgui Dieng has only cracked 10 rebounds once since the NCAA Tournament began, grabbing 11 boards against Duke. He faces his biggest challenge of the tourney when he takes the floor against Michigan.
Mitch McGary has come on strong for the Wolverines during this year’s Tournament. He had 12 rebounds to help his team get past the Syracuse Orange in the Final Four. He may be just as active on Monday night, but my bold prediction is that no matter how many rebounds the surprising freshman gets, Dieng will out-rebound him by 10 total boards.
Can I Borrow A Bucket?
Louisville guard Russ Smith has been on an absolute tear for the Cardinals. He has averaged 25 points per game during the five games of this tournament, including a game-high 31 against the Oregon Ducks. His clutch performances have propelled Louisville to its second straight national championship. My bold prediction is that the success comes to an end here.
Michigan is known more for its offensive creativity than for its defensive intensity, but they will make a concerted effort to contest every look Smith gets at the basket. Whether they can be successful at this, or whether Smith just has an off night, the prediction is that he will score less than 14 points.
Shooting the Lights Out
Louisville senior Peyton Siva was stifled by the defense of the Wichita State Shockers in the Final Four. Siva, who averaged a .404 FG percentage during the season, is not the most prolific shooter on the team’s roster, but no one would have thought the Shockers would force him to go 1-9 from the floor for a dismal .111 FG percentage on the game.
For this bold prediction, Siva is going to bounce back against the Wolverines and shoot for his best field goal percentage yet, clearing .700 for the game.
Paying Homage to the Past
It has been 20 years since the Fab Five took the floor for the second time to contend for a National Championship. As famous as that group of young ballers was, they were unable to secure a win in the big game. On Monday night, the current Wolverines will complete the journey by beating the Louisville Cardinals by five points.
Michigan has better pure shooters than the Cardinals and by protecting the ball, Michigan is able to capitalize on their possessions and gain the edge. The five points is in honor of a young Michigan team that changed the game of basketball forever, but was never able to cut the nets down in the final game.