2013 NCAA tournament: Louisville-Michigan title game predictions

By Eye on College Basketball staff | CBSSports.com

How have our experts done? | Complete tournament coverage

Time for One Shining Moment, and all that goes with it Monday night in Atlanta (9:23 p.m. ET, CBS), when Louisville and Michigan meet for the national title.

Our experts have had three weeks to digest what our NCAA national finalists -- Louisville and Michigan -- have to offer.

In case you need a refresher and aren't interested in weaving your way through that busted bracket (thanks, Wichita State and Oregon and Harvard and -- Oh, yeah, Florida Gulf Coast!!!) for the 3,000th time:

How Louisville (No. 1 seed overall, Midwest regional) got here:
Round of 64:
Defeated North Carolina A&T 79-48
Round of 32: Defeated Colorado State 82-56
Sweet 16: Defeated Oregon 77-69
Regional final: Defeated Duke 85-63
Final Four: Defeated Wichita State 72-68

How Michigan (No. 4 seed, South Regional) got here:
Round of 64:
Defeated South Dakota State 71-56
Round of 32: Defeated Virginia Commonwealth 78-53
Sweet 16: Defeated Kansas 87-85 (OT)
Regional final: Defeated Florida 79-59
Final Four: Defeated Syracuse 61-56

With the formalities out of the way, let's get to some picks.

2013 NCAA championship game predictions: Louisville vs. Michigan
WriterPredictionComment
JEFF GOODMAN
College Basketball Insider
Louisville 68, Michigan 64I picked the Cardinals before the season (unlike my colleague Gary Parrish, who chose Kentucky) to cut down the nets in Atlanta, and I'm not about to change now. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith have too much speed, and Gorgui Dieng's length will give Mitch McGary issues. Trey Burke turned the ball over seven times against VCU, so expect Louisville's pressure to bother the National Player of the Year. Michigan may have a talent edge, but it's young and will be rattled by Louisville's defense.
GARY PARRISH
College Basketball Insider
Louisville 69, Michigan 67My bracket was a mess by the end of the first weekend of this NCAA tournament, but one of the few things I predicted correctly is that Louisville would reach Monday's title game. I also said Louisville would win Monday. So why change now? Yes, I've been impressed by Michigan's run, and the emergence of Mitch McGary has raised the Wolverines' ceiling. But Louisville is still the most talented, most experienced and best team in college basketball. So put me down for the Cards, in a close one.
GREGG DOYEL
National Columnist
Michigan 62, Louisville 61Michigan has the country's most beautiful offense, though Louisville's pressure can turn your offense into a puddle of turnovers. But minus injured Kevin Ware, Louisville doesn't have the manpower to turn up the heat for 40 minutes. Will Michigan score enough to prevent the Cardinals from rallying as they did vs. Wichita State? No idea, and no idea how hard Louisville pushes. Want me to take a stand? OK. Louisville's inability to play its game for 40 minutes gives Michigan just enough room.
JEFF BORZELLO
Eye on College Basketball
Louisville 67, Michigan 63College basketball has been a roller coaster this season, and everyone said this would be a wide-open NCAA tournament. Well, heading into Monday night, we have the nation's best offense and the nation's best defense facing off for the title. Louisville has been dominant for 15 games now, while Michigan is playing loose and free. The key is Trey Burke against Louisville's pressure, and the ability of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith to get into the lane. Louisville was favored three weeks ago and will cut down the nets Monday.
MATT NORLANDER
Eye on College Basketball
Louisville 71, Michigan 65This ending will deliver us a fitting irony to this season. Even casual college hoops followers know there were two narratives that dominated the year. The first was lack of scoring. The second was the running theme of lacking a dominant team, a favorite. Well, Louisville's won 15 in a row, and its last loss came in five overtimes, on the road. The Cardinals have the best points-per-possession defense in the past 10 years. They are dominant, they are the sport's best. Monday night, they'll prove it.
JERRY PALM
Bracketology Expert
Louisville 80, Michigan 72Both teams escaped with Final Four wins despite bad performances from key guys. Michigan's Trey Burke had a miserable day and Nik Stauskas was shutout in the win over Syracuse. Gorgui Dieng, Wayne Blackshear and Peyton Siva were virtual no-shows for Louisville vs. Wichita State. Part of that was because they faced smothering defenses. Look for more offense, but the Cardinals' defense is more consistent, and that wins this game.
 
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