TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Championship Game: #1 Louisville Vs. #4 Michigan

#1 Louisville
#4 Michigan
Louisville v Wichita State
Michigan v Syracuse
Coaching
Winner Rick Pitino has been here before, after making his 7th Final Four appearance, he's now in his third go-round in the title game. He's got plenty of experience on the big stage and he has the Cardinals playing high level basketball at the right time.
John Beilein has now accomplished two personal firsts in this tournament. His first Final Four appearance and first shot at the title. Michigan has been tearing through the tournament looking like the team that was No. 1 earlier this season.
Offense
The Cardinals have the highest scoring offense in the tourney averaging 79 PPG. They've gotten scoring throughout the line-up, but one concern: Peyton Siva was 1-9 with seven points in the game against Wichita State.
Winner Michigan isn't far behind the Cardinals averaging 75.2 PPG. They've gotten a huge boost in the tournament from Mitch McGary who has averaged 16 PPG 11.6 RPG on 69.8% shooting. He has been a force inside and will put Gorgui Dieng to the test.
Defense
Louisville is averaging 11.2 SPG and 4.2 BPG in the tournament. Their full court pressure style has bottled opponents in every game they've played. It really tires teams out late in games.
Winner Michigan has held opponents to an average of 61.8 PPG in the tournament. If you take out the 85 points they gave up to Kansas that number drops to 56 PPG. They've been downright stingy.
Bench Depth
Winner Luke Hancock and Tim Henderson provided big 3's late against the Shockers and Montrezl Harrell continues to be a spark off the bench, but this team's depth took a hit when Kevin Ware went down with an injury.
Chris Levert gave the Wolverines big minutes in the Final Four, and Joshua Morgan has been a presence defensively all season. Spike Albrecht may be one of the most underrated pieces of this team. He gives Trey Burke the chance to play off the ball and get a breather from the point guard duties.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Louisville v Wichita State Michigan v Syracuse

This game is about as good as we can ask for in the national final. Michigan has seen a defense similar to Louisville's already when they played against VCU's patented chaos D in the Round of 32. But Rick Pitino is a master at making adjustments to force teams into uncomfortable positions. If Trey Burke and Michigan can protect the basketball though, they will win this game. Look for a game in the mid-70's with Michigan getting the win by 4.
-Ryan Mayer, College Basketball Contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals At San Francisco 49ers

    It’s a good thing the Cardinals have their playoff berth locked up, because the offense has lost its drive after losing quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton to injuries.

  2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Denver Broncos

    The Raiders have certainly shown some life in the second half of the season, and while it most likely won’t be enough to help Tony Sparano shed the interim label and become the full-time head coach, he does deserve credit for not letting this team give up.

  3. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images) (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: St. Louis Rams At Seattle Seahawks

    The Rams offense functioned at a much higher level in their Week 16 loss to the Giants with Shaun Hill at quarterback, and he is coming off a confidence-boosting 24-of-32 game for 290 yards with 2 TDs and 1 interception.

See All Tales of the Tape