After defeating 15-seed Jacksonville State by 15 on Friday, 2-seed Louisville faces a 2nd round opponent that’s playing as well as anyone in the nation in the Michigan Wolverines. The 2013 Championship game rematch will tip-off in Indianapolis at 12:10 on Sunday, the game can be seen on CBS.
Michigan defeated 10-seed Oklahoma State 92-91 on Friday, thanks in large part to shooting 16-29 from 3-point range. After a mediocre regular season, the Wolverines went on an improbable run through the Big 10 tournament winning against Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the championship. The Wolverines are a dangerously confident and hot shooting team right now, but they haven’t played a team as defensive-minded as Louisville in this stretch aside from a different style of defense in Wisconsin. 16-29 is scary good and while some of the threes were shot-clock beating daggers, it’s a different story when every shot is contested. Louisville will have to do a better job of defending the perimeter or take their chances with a team that is shooting as good or better than anyone in the nation.
Michigan is led by Senior Guard #10 Derrick Walton Jr. in both scoring and assists at 15.5 PPG and 4.9 APG. Fellow Senior Guard #21 Zak Irvin averages 12.9 PPG. Junior Forward #5 D.J. Wilson leads the team in rebounding with 5.4 RPG and also averages 10.8 PPG. These 3 players especially have been playing lights out for Michigan, I like the way Louisville matches up with them (Walton Jr. 6’1 vs Mitchell 6’3, Zak Irvin 6’6 vs Deng Adel 6’7, D.J. Wilson 6’10 vs Ray Spalding 6’10/Jaylen Johnson 6’9). Whichever team wins these 3 match-ups will win Sunday.
Michigan is a very scary team because of how well they’re playing. Credit given where it is due, but this team also has some questionable losses. They aren’t the Warriors, as Pitino claims, but they are a very talented and well-coached team. Bottom line, Louisville will be the better team tomorrow and Michigan’s hot shooting will end along with the Wolverine’s impressive run.
Louisville 82-Michigan 69.