National Championship Game Odds: Michigan vs. Louisville 4/8/13

Last Updated: April 7th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Rick Pitino LouisvilleThe Louisville Cardinals and the Michigan Wolverines were largely two of the best teams in the country all season long. Michigan floundered just a bit down the stretch of the regular season, while Louisville played its best basketball when it mattered the most, but after each team won five straight games in the dance, they now meet each other with the National Championship on the line. The Cardinals haven’t won the title since 1986. The Wolverines have failed to be the victors since 1989. Here at Bankroll Sports, we analyze the last battle on the college basketball betting lines of the season, as these two duke it out in Atlanta for all of the marbles.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Louisville Cardinals
Michigan vs. Louisville Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Michigan vs. Louisville Date/Time: Monday, April 8th, 9:23 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: CBS

Key #1: Trey Burke can’t have another game like he did against Syracuse
Big time players come to life in the biggest games of the season. Surprisingly though, Burke was rather MIA against the Syracuse Orange in the Final Four. He only scored seven points, and he wasn’t hitting any of those remarkable shots that we have become accustomed to seeing him knock down. In the clutch though, there still isn’t a player on either side of the court that we would rather have on our side, and it is definitely worth embracing that fact. Burke has proven time and time again that he has the ability to play the biggest ball in the biggest games, and it hasn’t even just been here in the dance. Sure, we all remember the two shots against the Kansas Jayhawks that eliminated the No. 1 seed in the South Region, but few remember that Burke was the man that came up with the steal to beat the Michigan State Spartans earlier this year, and he is the man that kept finding ways to score against some of the best and most ferocious defenses in the nation. Simply put, Burke is the man for the Wolverines, and though there is going to be plenty of discussion about some of the other players in this game, this is the one that has to step it up and become the de facto MVP if Big Blue is going to cut down the nets.

National Championship Game Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines +3.5
#1 Louisville Cardinals -3.5
Over/Under 137.5
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Key #2: One of these teams needs to have its role players make some huge plays
When you talk about role players in big games like this one, you often only think of which player can come up with the most points, especially off of the bench. That being said, the player that it makes the most sense to talk about right now is F Luke Hancock, who came off of the bench and scored 20 points to lead the way for the Cardinals. Though we know that Hancock had a huge game, we’re not really referring to men like him that are used to playing regular minutes. Instead, we are referring to men like G Tim Henderson, who scored 16 points all season long and put up two threes in a row to push Louisville from down 12 to down six in a span of less than a minute. We’re talking about G Caris LeVert, who came onto the court for Michigan and scored eight huge points after not scoring a single point since March 3rd. G Spike Albrecht did damage as well, hitting two threes in his five minutes on the court against Syracuse. Albrecht now has 19 points in this tournament. He only had scored 48 points in the entire regular season and the Big Ten Tournament. Whichever one of these teams can get the most out of these types of players will have a huge leg up on the other, because the truth of the matter is that the talent level from #1 through #6 or #7 that these two teams have is remarkably similar.

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Key #3: If the Wolverines get ahead, they have to throw down the hammer
We’ve watched time and time again here in the NCAA Tournament that teams that build substantial leads just don’t figure out how to put teams down. Davidson failed against Marquette, and the Golden Eagles ran all the way to the Elite Eight as a result. Wichita State didn’t put away Ohio State, and the Buckeyes had the ball down three points in that game with a chance to erase a 20-point deficit. The Shockers then blew a 12-point second half lead against Louisville. Even Michigan really isn’t exempt. The Wolverines had opportunity after opportunity to put away the Orange in the Final Four, and still, Syracuse found a way to have possession of the ball with less than 30 seconds to play with a chance to tie or take the lead. However, we have also seen the Wolverines as the beneficiaries of such an act. They were badly outplayed for most of the game against the Jayhawks, only to ultimately find a way to blow the game by getting outshot and turning the ball over too many times in the final five minutes or so. The one thing that we know about the Cardinals is that they aren’t giving up in games. The G Kevin Ware injury showed us that this team is resilient, and it has the ability to go on some massive runs to get the job done. If Michigan gets ahead and it doesn’t figure out how to keep its foot on the gas pedal, we know that the Cardinals are going to find their way back in this game.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, April 7th, 2013 @ 3:42 pm (EST)
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