Friday, April 5, 2013

Michigan vs. Syracuse Breakdown & Prediction

No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 4 Syracuse
Time: 8:50PM ET
Venue: Georgia Dome
Records: Michigan 30-7; Syracuse 30-9
Michigan stat leaders: Points – Trey Burke (18.8 ppg); Rebounds – Mitch McGary (6.2 rpg); Assists – Burke (6.8 apg); Steals – Burke (1.6 spg).
Syracuse stat leaders: Points – C.J. Fair (14.3 ppg); Rebounds – Fair (7.0 rpg); Assists – Michael Carter-Williams (7.4 apg); Steals – Carter-Williams (2.8 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan W4, Syracuse W4
Point Spread: Michigan -1.5
Prediction: Similar to the game with VCU, this game is being hyped up as the Michigan offense vs. the Syracuse defense. Instead of “havoc” the Orange will look to slow down Michigan with its 2-3 zone defense. Thus far in the tournament the zone defense has been very impressive for the Orange, holding Indiana to 50 points and Marquette to 39. However, Michigan seems to be clicking on offense and the Wolverines have the ability to beat the zone with its 3-point shooting. However, the key to that is for Michigan to actually hit the shots. The Wolverines can’t expect Nik Stauskas to go 6-for-6 from the 3-point line again, but Tim Hardaway Jr. could heat up and Trey Burke is always a threat to hit from deep. Michigan will also need to continue to get points in the paint from Mitch McGary, who has done a good job of finishing inside in the tournament. The true key to this game could be how Michigan defends Syracuse. The Orange have plenty of athletes and plenty of length. Michigan will have a hard time matching up on defense, so rebounding will again be a key on that end. If Syracuse is able to get multiple chances on the offensive end, it will be able to beat Michigan. We have seen Syracuse go in plenty of offensive funks in games throughout the season, and I think the Orange will fall into a funk at some point in this game. Michigan may not shoot the lights out, but I don’t think it will need to. The Wolverines seem to have it all working right now and I think John Beilein will have the right approach to attacking the zone and Michigan will move on to the national championship. Michigan 66, Syracuse 60

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