Will NBA-Level Talent Carry Michigan Wolverines to National Title?
The crux of an argument for the NBA being a superior experience to college basketball has to do with having the best players in the world. There is no reason to debate that point. Lebron James or Kobe Bryant would be the best player in college basketball. Using the NBA logic, Michigan should capture the National Title on Monday night.
While Louisville is the favorite to win the championship, it is the Wolverines that NBA scouts like. Nbadraft.net projects Trey Burke and Glenn Robinson III to be among the Top 15 picks in the NBA Draft. Tim Hardaway Jr is slated at 19th overall.
The only other player in this year’s Final Four likely to go in the first round is Syracuse guard Michael Carter Williams who is ranked the 22nd best prospect. Louisville's most highly regarded future pro is Gorgui Deng. The Cardinals center is projected as the ninth pick in the second round. Orange sharp-shooter James Southerland is a late second round possibility. Gregg Marshall deserves a raise. There are no Wichita State Shockers likely to be chosen.
Not only do the Wolverines feature Burke, Robinson III, and Hardaway Jr., they also have one of the nation's best snipers. Nik Stauskas is shooting 44.9 percent from three-point range this year and hit all six of his triple tries against Florida on Sunday. If he took enough attempts to qualify he would rank as the sixth best three-point shooter in the country. Mitch McGary has been a contributor for Michigan all season, but since the NCAA Tournament began he has been unstoppable. In four tournament games the young center has averaged 17.5 points per game, 11.5 rebound a contest, and shot 73 percent from the floor. He has more than doubled his regular season points a game average, almost multiplied his rebounds by two, and upped his shooting percentage by more than 10 percent.
There is no other team left in the tournament that consistently has five players on the court that can score from as many different places on the floor as Michigan. Whether it is Syracuse's zone that the Wolverines can navigate since they rank among the nation's best shooting and passing teams, or Louisville's full court pressure that UM can negate in the same way that VCU failed to rattle the Wolverines, the only questions for Michigan will come on the glass and in the pivot.
John Beilein has been a head coach for a long time. He is known for efficient offense and mixing defenses. He frequently plays four players on the perimeter and tends to have more skilled players than tough guys. The formula for beating the Wolverines is by getting second and third chance opportunities while limiting them to only one shot. You better out-tough the Wolverines, because ask the NBA, they have the best players.