2013 Final Four predictions: Louisville, Michigan will prevail

Jeff Goodman, College Basketball Insider

This is a tough call, but Trey Burke is the elite point guard in the country and should be able to get into the teeth of the Syracuse 2-3 zone. The Wolverines also have enough guys who can make shots from the perimeter, but the key will be penetration from Burke. I see freshman big man Mitch McGary getting plenty of garbage buckets down low because of Burke's ability to get into the lane and force the Cuse frontline guys to step up. Nik Stauskas will also need to follow up on his shooting performance last game, but the Canadian freshman can do more than just shoot it -- and he'll be able to show that against the Orange. Michael Carter-Williams needs to play well for Syracuse and take care of the ball, but the Orange will need to be clicking on all cylinders to beat the young Wolverines -- and that means guys like Brandon Triche, James Southerland and C.J. Fair all producing. I don't think that group will be consistent enough to get it done. Prediction: Michigan

Gary Parrish, College Basketball Insider

That Syracuse is here despite losing seven of its 12 games before the Big East tournament is wild and a testament to Jim Boeheim's ability to right a ship that seemed badly off-course. But I'm not a big believer in the defense-wins-championships theory, at least not as it pertains to this sport. What I do believe, though, is that offense wins championships, and the nation has no better offensive team than Michigan. Trey Burke is terrific in transition and in halfcourt sets. He creates open looks for teammates who hit enough of them, proof being the Wolverines' effective field-goal percentage of 54.6, which ranks 11th nationally. So does Syracuse's zone create an interesting challenge? Of course. But Michigan will have enough shooters on the court at all times to combat it, and that'll be the key to the Wolverines winning a close game. Prediction: Michigan

Gregg Doyel, National Columnist

The Michigan team I saw in Arlington, Texas -- the team I saw demolish Florida in the South regional title game, anyway -- can beat Syracuse. But what are the odds that same Michigan team, the one getting historically perfect perimeter shooting from freshman wing Nik Stauskas and 10-of-11 shooting from freshman center Mitch McGary -- shows up Saturday night? Slim to none, and none left town the second he heard about Syracuse's zone defense. Listen, the bracket I posted online here at CBSSports.com has Michigan in the title game, so this isn't an anti-Michigan thing. This is just an acknowledgement that great defense tends to beat great offense in the Final Four, and I've never seen a defense playing as great as the one at Syracuse. Prediction: Syracuse

Jeff Borzello, Eye on College Basketball

This is going to be the intriguing game on Saturday, as Michigan’s perimeter-oriented attack takes on the vaunted 2-3 zone of Syracuse. No one has been able to get open shots against the Orange’s defense during the NCAA tournament, but Michigan could break that streak. The Wolverines have the shooters to spread out the Syracuse zone, which could open up the foul-line area for Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. If either of those players can get the ball uncontested at the high post, it’s going to be a long day for Syracuse. Both are capable of hitting midrange jumpers or kicking out to perimeter shooters. We saw Nik Stauskas get wide-open looks all day against Florida’s defense -- Syracuse can’t allow that to happen. And we haven’t even mentioned National Player of the Year Trey Burke or the offensive rebounding prowess of Mitch McGary. If Syracuse is going to win, Michigan needs to have a terrible shooting day. That won’t happen. Prediction: Michigan

Matt Norlander, Eye on College Basketball

What's more reliable: Michigan's No. 1-rated offense with the best player in college basketball, or the Syracuse zone that's shut down some pretty effective offensive teams over the past month? When you have the point guard to break down the fences and the size, strength, quickness and shooting around you, like Trey Burke does, I have to lean to Michigan. The Wolverines have become the favorite in this as well. And I think it'd be pretty great to get the No. 1 D (Louisville) play the No. 1 O in college hoops' ultimate game. I'll take the Wolverines, which will additionally set up a Big East-Big Ten final, fitting as those were the two best leagues in the land this season. Prediction: Michigan 

Jerry Palm, Bracketology Expert

This should be a fun game. Michigan is the team best suited to attack the Syracuse zone that the Orange will have faced so far in this tournament. The Wolverines have a good penetrator in Trey Burke and guys who can shoot over the zone. They will have to be judicious and patient on offense, though, and players like Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, both freshmen, will be asked to make good, quick decisions with the ball in the center of the zone. That could be where things fall apart. Prediction: Syracuse

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