Finally, the 2012-13 college basketball season culminates tonight between the Big East champions and one of the top preseason contenders. Here’s a reminder of all the TV and game time information with the prediction following.
Odds from Covers updated on Monday morning. Clones Confidential went 2-0 predicting the Final Four games, and is 49-23 overall in the tournament.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA
Host: Georgia Tech University
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellog, Steve Kerr, Tracy Wolfson
Louisville was the postseason tournament favorite for many, surpassing expectations a season ago and making their second straight trip to the Final Four. Even without having the behemoth that was Kentucky a season ago, the Cardinals are lucky to be in the championship game.
Wichita State stayed in the game against Louisville with an ugly first half of shooting by both teams. It took a walk-on to spark the Cardinals, when they were down by 12 with 13:01 to go, to hit two 3-point shots to cut the lead in half. Like most teams that come in undermanned to a big game like this, the Shockers couldn’t sustain a lead a seven point lead with a little over 10 minutes to go.
In the other semifinal match, Michigan had the answers for Syracuse’s zone. Three of the stars were able to get into double digits scoring the ball, led by another great performance by Mitch McGary with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.
The Wolverines were a favorite to win the championship for good reason early on this season, and that team is finally playing at their peak after diminishing from the Big Ten spotlight late in the season. The way they attacked Syracuse’s zone was impressive, and it’s hard not to expect them to score against Louisville with how efficient they’ve been shooting (now ranked 11th in the nation).
Along with having the current best assist-turnover ratio in the nation, shooting the ball better from the perimeter, and not sending opponents to the line, there’s enough to overcome Louisville’s rebounding advantage unless the Cardinals come up with an overwhelming number of offensive boards and second-chance points. Both teams are hot coming in, as most national championship teams, but Michigan will make the plays at the end to win the game.
Wolverines 63, Cardinals 60