Championship Storylines

There are a number of storylines surrounding Monday's NCAA Championship, including the matchup between Louisville's Gorgui Dieng v Mitch McGrary of Michigan.

It's everything you could want in a national championship matchup.

Louisville's top-ranked defense facing Michigan's No. 1 offense. The consensus national player of the year (Trey Burke) matched up against the NCAA tournament's top scorer (Russ Smith).

Michigan started the season 16-0; a Louisville win on Monday would close its season on a 16-game winning streak. Each team's center is a likely first-round NBA pick this summer and both teams spent time atop the AP poll.

Here are a few more storylines you're sure here to more about heading into Monday…


Neither team got great performances from its guards Saturday but both found a way to reach the championship. Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nick Stauskas shot a combined 5 of 29 against Syracuse. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith were 7 of 26.

Don't expect both groups to struggle again Monday. One will break out. Whichever group can limit poor shots is likely to cut down the nets as both teams have the style and speed to convert easy looks off bad misses.


Michigan center Mitch McGary has come alive in NCAA tournament, grabbing at least nine rebounds in each of Michigan's five games. His 10 points, 12 rebounds

Monday's assignment against Gorgui Dieng will be the latest test for the freshman after career-highs of 25 points and 14 rebounds against Kansas's Jeff Withey in the Wolverines comeback overtime win. He also had 14 rebounds and

Michigan will invariably get into lane, despite Louisville's stellar defensive backcourt. When that happens, McGary's presence will be a challenge for Louisville's shot blocker and force quicker backside rotations to eliminate second-chance opportunities for the Wolverines.

Like Dieng, McGary is an effective passer – his six assists against Syracuse included a no-look gem and were four more than his previous career high. Both move well in transition and can knock down 15-footers.

Expect Louisville to review film of McGary's March 10 performance against Indiana and Cody Zeller when he scored 2 points and grabbed just 2 rebounds in eight minutes.


One coach will have a chance to avenge a crushing loss at a former school on Monday. 20 years ago, Pitino and Kentucky lost 81-78 in overtime in the Final Four to Michgan's Fab Five. That set the heartbreak of Chris Webber's famous failed timeout for blue and maize faithful in the 1993 championship.

Michigan coach John Beilein will be peppered with questions about how Louisville rallied from down 20 in the 2005 regional final to beat his Mountaineers. That gave Louisville its first Final Four of the Pitino era and the school one of its most legendary comebacks.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories