2013 Final Four Predictions: Michigan vs. Syracuse March Madness

Last Updated: April 6th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Syracuse OrangeThe second and final ticket to the NCAA Tournament finale will be handed out on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome. For the first time ever, a pair of No. 4 seeds are going to be meeting each other in the Final Four, as the Syracuse Orange and the Michigan Wolverines do battle. This is a bit of a surprising matchup to see on the Final Four odds, knowing that both of these teams had to go through some rough and rocky roads to reach Atlanta, but they’re both here and are ready to give it a go at winning the National Championship.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Syracuse Orange
Michigan vs. Syracuse Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Michigan vs. Syracuse Date/Time: Sunday, April 6th, 8:49 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: The Wolverines have to capitalize on second chance opportunities
Obviously, the 2-3 zone for the Orange has been great over the course of this tournament. Teams are shooting an incredibly low percentage against them, and there just aren’t all that many opportunities that clubs have had to score against this unit. If there is one knock against Syracuse though, it is that it just hasn’t hit the defensive boards all that hard. It’s not that the team is a bad rebounding team, and it isn’t that those rebounds aren’t being contested, but in the end, the Orange have allowed 11.0 offensive rebounds per game here in the dance, including at least 10 in each of the last three rounds. The Wolverines have the bigs on the inside to take advantage of this, and when they get those offensive rebounds, they’re going to have to ultimately finish the job if they are going to have a shot to get into the NCAA Tournament final.

Michigan vs. Syracuse Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines -2
#4 Syracuse Orange -2
Over/Under 131
Click Here to Bet Your Final Four Picks!

Key #2: The Orange are going to need to knock down some shots from the outside
Head Coach Jim Boeheim has preached that this is a defensive team that is finally playing defensive basketball down the stretch of the season. However, Michigan has a heck of a lot better defense than most figure. The Orange haven’t hit more than 21 shots from the field in a game since the opening round of the tournament, and we aren’t all that sure that they are going to be able to do that once again and still win this game. We have an appreciation for the fact that the guards are getting into the paint and are really killing opponents by getting them into foul trouble, but we also know that the point is going to come when someone is going to have to hit that big shot to sway the tide of the game. Is anyone going to be able to do it when push comes to shove? That’s perhaps the biggest question that the Orange have to answer when they come into this game.

Diamond Sportsbook

Key #3: The Wolverines have to be prepared to win a game in the 60s
The Wolverines have done well over the course of the last several games when they have had the ability to score in the 70s. In fact, getting into the 70s is generally the key to victory. Unfortunately, scoring beyond about 65 or so on the Orange is virtually impossible. There aren’t many wins this season when the team has scored in the 50s or the low 60s though, and there are a lot of losses against very similar teams. For example, in the Big Ten Tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers held down Michigan to just 59 points and won by nine. In the regular season, we saw the Michigan State Spartans blow out the Wolverines by 23 in a game in which Big Blue just didn’t have anything going, and we saw those same Badgers win 65-62 at the Kohl Center as well. Can Michigan play like a team that can win a gritty game played in the 50s or 60s? It might have to if it is going to ultimately end up playing for all of the marbles on Monday night.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Saturday, April 6th, 2013 @ 1:10 am (EST)
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