Tale of the tape
NCAA Tournament Championship Weekend: #4 Michigan Vs. #4 Syracuse
|This has been the coming-out party for John Beilein, who is finally benefiting from his hard work and dedication – along with some prized recruits. Now in his first Final Four, a national championship would loft him to new heights.||Coaching||What makes Jim Boeheim so special isn’t just his long run of successes – it’s the way he does it. Everybody left this Syracuse team for dead, and then the Orange go out and upset Indiana, take care of Marquette. This Final Four appearance – his fourth -- is well earned.|
|The Wolverines score in bunches, and while that can be a risky way to play, it can also be deadly. Straight off the bat, Michigan strangled a talented Gators squad with instant offense, and this came after the incredible heroics against Kansas. If Nik Stauskas hits 6-6 threes again like he did vs. the Gators, forget it.||Offense||As you might expect, the Orange have not been winning these games with offense. C.J. Fair, James Southerland and company shot a paltry 38 percent against Marquette and only managed 61 points against Indiana – yet won both games comfortably.|
|The Wolverines sport an above-average defense, but they rely more on containment than forcing turnovers. They also do an incredible job of avoiding fouls, often never allowing teams to reach the bonus.||Defense||As in previous editions, it’s time yet again to laud Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. The Orange are stifling opponents in jaw-dropping ways. Indiana? 50 points on 33-percent shooting. Marquette? Just 39 points! The Golden Eagles aren’t known for their shooting, but Syracuse embarrassed them.|
|Spike Albrecht is the only guy getting serious minutes off the bench right now, and he averaged just 7.7 minutes a game during the season. The Wolverines are rolling with their starters to the end.||Bench Depth||For the Orange, the only significant bench player is Baye Keita, who eats up a ton of minutes while patrolling the floor defensively. The important thing is, Syracuse can survive foul trouble with that kind of reliable size just ready to be summoned.|
The winner is
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