Syracuse and Michigan meet Saturday evening at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with a trip to the national championship game at stake. Both teams are set to begin an unexpected Final Four journey, justifying early season hoops hype at each university.
The fourth-seeded Orange overcame Big East rival Marquette Saturday in Elite Eight action. Syracuse stumbled during the regular season's final stretch, suffering seven losses in 12 games, but recovered just in time for a strong tournament run.
Michigan also meandered its way through the second half of conference play, going 6-6 in its last dozen games against Big Ten opponents. The Wolverines' late-season slide dropped the team from a potential No. 1 ranking to a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
However, the team has rallied in a big way. Michigan stunned No. 1 seed Kansas on Friday before bullying third-seeded Florida in the Elite Eight
A season's worth of success and failure for both squads gives us an indication of what will make the difference in this matchup. Let's break down five keys that should ultimately determine which team punches its ticket for the national title game.