2013 NCAA Championship Game Preview

        The Louisville Cardinals and Michigan Wolverines will meet Monday night in the NCAA championship game. The Cardinals have lived up to the tournament's top overall seed, blowing through their first four opponents before rallying from a dozen points down in the second half to beat surprising Wichita State 72-68 in the Final Four.  Coach Rick Pitino worked at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to a national title in 1996. Now, he's got a chance to become the first coach to win the NCAA championship as a coach at two schools.

Player to Watch: Louisville Cardinals - Russ Smith
The junior Guard is averaging 25 points on 50 percent shooting over five NCAA tournament games.

Player to Watch: Michigan Wolverines - Mitch McGary
Freshman forward Mitch McGary has led his team with 16 ppg and 11.6 rpg during the tournament - after averaging 7.5 and 6.3, respectively, for the season.

        How will Michigan handle the pressure of Louisville? Michigan withstood Syracuse's enveloping 2-3 zone in the semifinals. Now the Wolverines has to attempt to deal with the Cardinals' press. The good news for the Wolverines is their 9.37 turnovers per game average is the best all-time in the team's history and leads the nation. The bad news for Michigan is that Louisville is second in the nation in steals, at 10.8. Its opponent turned the ball over an average of 18.4 times per game this season.

        The Cardinals are have been one of the best defensive teams all year and in the tournament have been one of the most efficient offensive teams shooting 53.2 % from the field. If Louisville plays like they have been they will be tough to beat. Michigan on the other hand needs their All-American/AP Player of the Year Trey Burke to step up and lead the Wolverines to victory. Burke has been held disappointingly quiet in the first half in the team's last two games.

By Steven Spector - 4 -7-13