Counting on underclassmen, Michigan is putting a much younger line up on the court than Louisville. Conventional thought would be that Michigan's underclassmen must have been more highly ranked in high school than Louisville's players, but that isn't the case.
Glenn Robinson was the highest ranked prospect on Michigan's squad.
Michigan's three highest ranked high school players according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index are freshmen. Glenn Robinson had a No. 23 ranking, Mitch McGary No. 26 and Nick Stauskas No. 78. These freshmen account for 29.6 points per game and 14.8 rebounds per game although Mitch McGary's production has been much higher during the tournament.
[Related: A look at Louisville's roster]
Louisville's three highest ranked players are sophomore Chane Behanan (No. 24), sophomore Wayne Blackshear (No. 26) and senior Peyton Siva (No. 27). These three players account for 27 points and 11.9 rebounds per game while Siva leads the team with 5.6 assists per game.
Production from the top three ranked prospects on each team is similar with a small edge to Michigan's freshmen.
After the freshmen, the next highest ranked and only ranked player for Michigan is Trey Burke. As good as Burke is, he only had a ranking of No. 83 coming into Michigan. Louisville has a similar situation with leading scorer Russ Smith not being ranked at all in high school.
None of Michigan's other players, including Tim Hardaway Jr., were ranked in high school. On the other hand, Louisville has four other players ranked in the top 100 in high school (including injured Kevin Ware).
Not only does Louisville have a prospect ranking edge over Michigan, the Cardinals have a decisive experience edge over the Wolverines. Louisville has a top nine tonight of one senior, four juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. Michigan counters with no seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen.
So by the ranking numbers and experience, Louisville has a strong edge tonight. Given that the Industry missed so badly ranking the Michigan squad and the top scorer for each team, its tough to put much stock in those numbers.
The edge for Louisville in experience, however, can't be ignored. Whether or not it will be a deciding factor will play out tonight.