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Michigan's maligned defense showing signs of improvement during NCAA tournament run

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Michigan's Mitch McGary (4) knocks the ball away from Florida's Erik Murphy (33) during the first half of a regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (The Associated Press)

Heading into the NCAA tournament, Michgan's most glaring weakness was at the defensive end of the court.

After winning four straight games to reach the Final Four, the Wolverines are improving heading into Saturday's game against Syracuse.

Michigan was poor defensively for extended stretches against Kansas last week — but that was the only tournament game the Wolverines came close to losing. In wins over Florida, Virginia Commonwealth and South Dakota State, Michigan was a lot stingier.

Mitch McGary, a 6-foot-10 freshman, is giving opponents something to think about around the basket. Star point guard Trey Burke's quick hands are a factor on the perimeter.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III can be overpowered down low, but they are athletic enough to contest outside shots.

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