The shining four teams coming out of the Elite Eight in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will go head-to-head over the weekend for a shot at the title. The Final Four boasts top-seeded Louisville along with Michigan, Syracuse and Wichita State.
Louisville had the night of its life in its Elite Eight matchup against Duke, dropping the Blue Devils 85-63, despite an injury that left the entire stadium speechless. Louisville guard Kevin Ware’s snapped shin was a reality check for the Cardinals, but coach Rick Pitino said he couldn’t ask more from his team in the midst of a game changer.
Louisville’s momentum after the Duke matchup will test Wichita State. The Shockers upset the Ohio State Buckeyes 70-66 in the Elite Eight. Guard Malcolm Armstead posted up 14 points, while guard Fred Van Vleet contributed 12. Wichita State is only the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to grab a spot in the Final Four in seeding history.
While Wichita State tries to upset the main contender, Michigan will lock up with Syracuse.
Michigan’s 79-59 victory over Florida gave the meaning of offense a whole new perspective. The Wolverines shot lights-out from beyond the arc, got great guard play from Trey Burke and forward Mitch McGary gave Michigan a nice inside presence with 11 points total and nine rebounds. Despite the strength of team players like McGary, coach John Beilein said that Syracuse won’t be an easy feat.
Syracuse is a comeback story going into the Final Four. The Orange lost seven of its last 12 games heading into the Big East Tournament. With its journey in the NCAA Tournament, the Orange played like a completely different team. The team’s 55-39 victory over Marquette in the Elite Eight gave coach Jim Boeheim a chance to win a national title for the first time since Carmelo Anthony and the 2003 National Title. Guard Michael Carter-Williams was named the regional’s top player after having 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the Marquette game. Syracuse’s famed 2-3 zone held the Golden Eagles under 40 points for the first time all season. Heading into the Final Four, coach Boeheim said that Syracuse’s challenge is to limit an overwhelming Michigan offense.
No. 4 seeds Syracuse and Michigan battle in the Georgia Dome on Saturday at 8:49 p.m., while overall No. 1-seeded Louisville and No. 9-seeded Wichita State go head to head in the Dome at 6:09 p.m.