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Michigan vs. Syracuse, 2013 NCAA Final Four: Offensive force meets defensive brick wall

The Michigan Wolverines and Syracuse Orange have contrasting styles of play, but one or the other has to give as the two play for a spot in the national title game.


The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines and No. 4 Syracuse Orange are just one game away from playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game.

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Each team knocked off the top seed in their region to meet up and it will be a rather interesting meeting at that. The Wolverines are known for their ability to score, the Orange known for their ability to stifle opponents on offense.

The Wolverines offense has been clicking completely as they have rolled through the tournament, averaging a 15.5 point victory margin despite beating the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks by just two points. Michigan is averaging 78.8 points during the tournament off of efficient shooting, 49 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the three-point line. An outside shot is necessary to beat Syracuse's zone, and the Wolverines have guards Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. all able to hit the big shot.

Syracuse's zone is going to need to hold up against the Wolverines. Michigan is rated as the most efficient offense in the nation according to Kenpom, but the Orange fire back with the fifth most effective defense. Syracuse's offense has struggled a bit from the field, but they attack the offensive glass, averaging 12.1 offensive rebounds a game -- good for 16th in the nation. Just as much as Michigan's offense has been rolling, the Syracuse defense has been absolutely stifling during the tournament. They held the Marquette Golden Eagles to a record low 39 points in the Elite Eight, and their four opponents so far have shot a combined 28.9 percent against them.

Game time, TV: 8:50 p.m. ET, CBS

Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.