ESPN College Basketball Analysts Predict Men’s Final Four Winners

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April 5th, 2013

Louisville Versus Duke

via press release:

ESPN College Basketball Analysts Predict Men’s Final Four Winners
As the 2012-13 men’s college basketball season comes to a close this weekend, 10 ESPN college basketball analysts weighed in with their picks for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinal and championship game winners. Highlights:
All 10 analysts picked Louisville to defeat Wichita State:
Seth Greenberg: “Louisville attacks relentlessly on both sides of the ball. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva attack you both offensively and defensively. Ball pressure combined with Gorgui Dieng’s ability to protect the rim make Louisville’s defense special.”
Malcolm Huckaby: “With Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, Louisville has two of the best guards in the tournament on defense and offensively they are lethal in open court and pick-and-roll situations. To beat Louisville you must have four strong ball handlers on the court and guards who can match the foot speed of Louisville back court.”
Stephen Bardo: “It will be closer than many think but the Cards will prevail in this one. The speed, size and athleticism of Louisville will prove to be too much for the Shockers to overcome.”
Jimmy Dykes: “Louisville is the best team remaining of the four. They can win hard games without playing well on offense and very few teams have that ability. Louisville is unique in that they are outstanding in zone defense, man defense, and changing between the two within a possession. No team does all three better than Louisville.”
Six of the 10 analysts predicted Michigan would beat Syracuse. Here’s thoughts from two who chose Michigan
Fran Fraschilla: “This game features great defense vs. great offense. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is like a knuckleball pitcher. You may hit him in one outing but the next game it totally baffles you. Figuring it out game to game is difficult. Michigan ran a great zone offense against Syracuse in the 2010 Legends Classic, but didn’t have the right personnel to execute the shots. They have the personnel to attack the Syracuse’s zone this year, but it comes down to if the ball goes in the basket.”
Jimmy Dykes: “To beat Syracuse, you must be good in three key areas: making threes, penetrating gaps and offensive glass. Michigan is good in all three. Michigan has the speed to beat the Syracuse zone before it gets set, off of defensive boards and turnovers. Michigan has shot over 50 percent vs. the zone so far this season due to the shooting ability of Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. Mitch McGary can run and get put-back points as well as any big guy left in the tournament.”
Seth Greenberg, Jay Bilas, Bruce Pearl and Malcolm Huckaby picked Syracuse to win the game:
Seth Greenberg: “The Orange Zone swallows up little guards. Syracuse’s half-court offense will keep Michigan out of transition.”
Malcolm Huckaby: “Syracuse will slow down Michigan’s defense with its zone and force them into contested three-point shots. I don't see Syracuse giving Nik Stauskas the open looks. Syracuse’s guards are long and do a great job keeping opposing guards out of the paint and creating turnovers or contested shots, which is what you need to be able to do against Michigan and Trey Burke.”
Nine of the 10 analysts predicted Louisville would cut down the nets with Sean Farnham selecting Michigan:
Dick Vitale: I picked Louisville to win it all before the season started and I see no reason to change my mind now.”
Sean Farnham: “Trey Burke is as an elite point guard as there is in the college game and the emergence of Mitch McGary has added a missing inside presence to the Wolverines’ attack. Defenses have to at least step to him which allows just a little more space for the perimeter shooters on the outside.”
Seth Greenberg: “Louisville has dominated every opponent in the tournament and their defense will contain the backcourt of Syracuse in this game. Rick Pitino understands how to probe the Syracuse zone. Russ Smith is impossible to contain off the bounce in half court and transition while Dieng anchors the back of the press and matchup zone.”
ESPN Analysts National Semifinal and Championship Game Picks
Analyst Wichita State vs. Louisville Syracuse vs. Michigan Championship
Dick Vitale Louisville Michigan Louisville
Jay Bilas Louisville Syracuse Louisville
Fran Fraschilla Louisville Michigan Louisville
Jimmy Dykes Louisville Michigan Louisville
Seth Greenberg Louisville Syracuse Louisville
Dan Dakich Louisville Michigan Louisville
Stephen Bardo Louisville Michigan Louisville
Bruce Pearl Louisville Syracuse Louisville
Sean Farnham Louisville Michigan Michigan
Malcolm Huckaby Louisville Syracuse
 
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