BOZICH: U of L Vs. Michigan; Big East Vs. Big Ten; Smith Vs. Bur - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH: U of L Vs. Michigan; Big East Vs. Big Ten; Smith Vs. Burke

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Louisville will have to defeat Michigan Monday night to win the 2013 NCAA title. Louisville will have to defeat Michigan Monday night to win the 2013 NCAA title.

ATLANTA  (WDRB) – Most people argue the Big Ten was the best basketball conference in the country this season because the league put four teams in the final Top 10 and dominated the computer rankings.

Others say that's ridiculous because the Big Ten never wins the NCAA title and the Big East put two teams in the Final Four and three in the Elite Eight.

Most people argue that Trey Burke of Michigan was the best college basketball player in the nation this season because of the way that he runs a team with his shots, drives and passes. Burke already has the Wooden Award to prove it.

Other say that was an error by the voters because Russ Smith of Louisville has been the most difficult guy to guard in this NCAA Tournament, averaging 25 points through the Cardinals' first five NCAA games.

There are other things to fuss about: Who is the more innovative coach – Rick Pitino of Louisville or John Beilein of Michigan?

Monday night at the Georgia Dome will be the perfect time to continue the debate: Pitino, Smith and U of L of the Big East against Beilein, Burke and Michigan of the Big Ten for the 2013 NCAA title.

Louisville earned its way by defeating Wichita State, 72-68, while the Wolverines outlasted Syracuse, 61-56, in the second semifinal on Saturday.

Las Vegas has already identified the Cardinals as a 4 ½-point favorite as Pitino tries to become the first coach to win NCAA titles at two schools while giving U of L its third national title (and first since 1986). Ken Pomeroy's computer formula likes Louisville by five.

Michigan, meanwhile, is trying to give the Big Ten its first NCAA champ since Michigan State delivered in 2000. Remember this is a team that was seeded fifth in the Big Ten Tournament and split its last dozen conference games, losing to Penn State.

"We're going to have a quick, quick prep," Beilein said. "It's a difficult one, too, because Louisville throws so many things at you."

Louisville and Michigan have played two common opponents – Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Wolverines went 2-0 against that pair while U of L went 3-1. Pitino defeated Beilein two of the last three times they've met, but both victories required overtime. Beilein coached West Virginia in those games. When Pitino was at Kentucky, he also defeated one of Beilein's teams at Canisius.

Michigan is considered the nation's most efficient offensive team while Louisville ranks first on defense. To get to the championship game, Michigan had to beat Virginia Commonwealth's full-court pressure as well as Florida, which is coached by Billy Donovan, a Pitino disciple.

"Rick has a tremendous tree of coaches out there, so now we're playing the man himself who invented a lot of this jump and run, different types of traps, changing defenses," Beilein said.

"So there's been some preparation involved along the line. But seeing it first-hand the way Rick does it there will be some uniqueness to it. We've just got to get ready the best we can and still make sure we're fresh."

College basketball fans can't wait because there is so much to debate and decide.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.


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