South Regional Final Game Analysis: #3 Florida vs #4 Michigan

Posted by nvr1983 on March 31st, 2013


#3 Florida vs. #4 Michigan – South Regional Final (Los Angeles, CA) – 7:05PM ET on CBS

Florida-Michigan may be an undercard to the ridiculous Louisville-Duke game later today, but that doesn’t mean that it will be of much lower quality as it features two teams that were in the top 10 for most of the season and in the top 5 for long stretches. It was only late season slides that kept these teams from being on the 1 or 2 line on Selection Sunday. Despite those late season struggles both teams have recovered and have managed to play excellent basketball leading up to today.

Florida is of course the darling of advanced metrics fans as they have put up impressive efficiency numbers, but many observers have questioned whether the team has the ability to win close games as they have lost all six games they have played this year that were decided by single digits. The flip side of that is that their other 29 wins have been by double digits showing just how effective they can be. The Gators will have a tough time making this their 30th double-digit win of the season as Michigan is much better than anybody they have beaten this season and probably better than anybody they have played this year with the possible exception of Arizona (one of Florida’s six single-digit losses). To beat the Wolverines the Gators will need to find a way to contain Trey Burke who rebounded from a scoreless first half to score 23 points to go along with 10 assists. The task of containing Burke will likely fall on Scottie Wilbekin, who compared Burke to Phil Pressey yesterday. While Pressey is an excellent player and creator he lacks the explosive offensive game of Burke. In addition, Burke has been exceptional in his ability to create while taking care of the ball as he came into the weekend with a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks 4th in the nation.

Burke Will Be The Focus Of The Gator Defense

Burke may be the star for Michigan, but Florida will have to contend with a trio of outstanding perimeter players in Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Nick Stauskas who all can provide scoring from the outside if Burke struggles to find his shot. On the inside, Patric Young will be matched up with Mitch McGary, who has recovered from a slow start to his freshman season, which he has openly admitted was due to his poor conditioning and effort, to lead the Wolverines in scoring in the NCAA Tournament with 19.7 points per game while making a ridiculous 75.7% of his shots from the field and has added 12.3 rebounds per game for good measure. Young should have the ability to overpower McGary, but based on the comments of the Gators yesterday (essentially admitted they knew nothing about him) they may be underestimating his game. And as Jeff Withey and Kansas found out that could be a very bad idea.

On the other sideline, John Beilein will have to come up with a way to contain a Gator team that lacks a superstar, but is full of solid players with quite a bit of experience as this is Florida’s third straight Elite Eight appearance. The Wolverines will not have one player to focus in on when they are on defense like the Gators have with Burke, but they will need to defend the three-point line where the Gators have five players–Kenny BoyntonMike Rosario, Eric Murphy, Wilbekin, and Michael Frazier–who have attempted over 100 three-pointers on the season and shoot 38% as a team despite their high volume (Michigan has similar numbers, but the Gators spread the shots around more).

On paper it would appear that Florida would have the edge given their ridiculous efficiency numbers and their experience, but it remains to be seen whether they can win a close game. Obviously they have the ability and part of their close losses is an element of luck, but their lack of a defined go-to-guy could come into play. And we don’t think the Gators will be able to blow out the Wolverines so this should come into play and we aren’t sure if the Gators will have  anybody to match Burke.

The RTC Certified Pick: Michigan

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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