NCAA Tournament: Breaking Down Final Four Matchups, Odds, Game Times and More

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NCAA Tournament: Breaking Down Final Four Matchups, Odds, Game Times and More
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And then there were four.

With wins in Sunday's Elite Eight action, Michigan and Louisville joined Wichita State and Syracuse in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, and they will now square off against each other for the chance to take home the National Championship.

If the tournament so far is anything to go by, then we're set for two memorable Final Four matchups that should provide plenty of big talking points and highlights.

Read on for all the need-to-know details of the Final Four in this year's March Madness, as well as a preview and predictions for the games themselves.

 

NCAA Tournament 2013 Schedule

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Final Four

[1] Louisville vs. [9] Wichita State—April 6, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. ET

[4] Michigan vs. [4] Syracuse—April 6, 2013 at 8:49 p.m. ET

 

Championship Game

Scheduled to take place on April 8, 2013 (time TBA)

 

TV Schedule and Viewing Information

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CBS will provide coverage of both the Final Four and Championship Game.

Alternatively, if you can't make it to a TV, watch full coverage of the Final Four live via NCAA.com's official March Madness Live.

 

Betting Information and Odds

[4] Michigan (-2.5) vs. [4] Syracuse

[1] Louisville (-10) vs. [9] Wichita State

(All information provided via VegasInsider.com. Odds subject to change)

 

Game Previews

Check out previews of both games as provided via Bleacher Report.

 

[4] Michigan vs. [4] Syracuse

 

[1] Louisville vs. [9] Wichita State


 

Biggest Players to Watch For

Russ Smith, Louisville

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Smith has been arguably the player of the tournament so far and again showed how solid he can be against Duke, lifting the Cardinals past the Blue Devils.

The star guard netted 23 points in the win, though in comparison to what he's achieved so far in the tournament, it almost pales in comparison. Smith has averaged 26 points and 3.3 steals per game in March Madness so far and has been integral to the Cardinals' deep run.

Louisville will again look to its guard to lead the team against Wichita State, who could be exploited on defense by the No. 1 seed's dominant offense.

Smith must be shut down outside the perimeter and not allowed inside—which is easier said than done—if the Shockers are going to pull off the upset here.

 

Trey Burke, Michigan

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Trey Burke might have seemed to take a backwards role in the Wolverines' huge win over the No. 3 seed Florida Gators, but the star guard was just as active as he has been all tournament.

According to ESPN, Burke was responsible for 40.5 percent (32 of 79) of Michigan's points Sunday—scoring 15 and having his seven assists lead to another 17. In Michigan's four tournament games, Burke has been responsible for 134 points in total, and he'll again be the player to watch.

Burke has combined brilliantly with Tim Hardaway Jr. throughout the year plus Nik Stauskas of late, which makes Michigan a very tough team to match up against, with the star guard capable of feeding either player or dominating on offense by himself.

Look for Burke to again take control in their Final Four game, with Syracuse's ability to shut him down or not like to determine the outcome of this one.

 

Predictions

Louisville vs. Wichita State

It's incredibly hard to go past the No. 1 seed in this one, but particularly not after the emotion and passion they showed to get past No. 2 Duke.

Losing Kevin Ware to a horrific leg injury, the Cardinals showed they are a united team who live and die in the tournament as a unit. And while the Shockers are no doubt the same, it's hard to see that unit and bond being broken here by the No. 9 seed Wichita State.

Louisville is the best defensive team in the country, and its ability to force turnovers and capitalize on those should carry them through this one with ease.

Moreover, expect them to cover the spread in the process.

Final score: Louisville 79, Wichita State 64

 

Michigan vs. Syracuse

Syracuse had a very strong postseason in the Big East and have carried that through to the NCAA tournament here. It has performed very well against some very strong teams, and their tough defense will look to again come to the fore in this one.

However, against the dominant duo of Burke and Hardaway Jr., even the tough defense of the Orange will have a tough time trying to stop the Wolverines.

Even if they do only average 45.8 points against per game in March Madness.

Look for the Wolverines to try and establish a strong inside presence here, and then hurt Syracuse with their devastating movement around the perimeter. They'll also try and gain the upper hand in transition, and not allow the Orange's defense time to get set up.

If they can do that, and move the ball quickly, then Michigan should be too strong here—albeit in a close and thrilling Final Four finish.

Final score: Michigan 66, Syracuse 64

 

Who are your locks for the First Four this year?

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