The Syracuse Orange and Michigan Wolverines are meeting in a Final Four matchup between No. 4 seeds that will determine which prestigious program gets a trip to the national title game.
Both teams were solid during the regular season, but they stepped it up during the last two weeks and have dominated their opponents—although in different fashions.
Michigan was able to will its way to this showdown on the back of its high-powered offense, led by superstar point guard Trey Burke. Meanwhile, the Orange have utilized an effective 2-3 zone defense to hold opponents to 29 percent field-goal shooting for the tourney.
Which style will prevail?
Keep reading to find out our prediction on that and much more—including where to watch the game, players to keep an eye on and an updated injury report.
Complete Viewing Guide
When: Saturday, April 6, at 8:49 p.m ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
TV: CBS Sports
Live Stream: NCAA.com
Spread Info: Michigan -2 (via VegasInsider.com)
Injury Report (via USA Today): Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse) – Probable – Ankle
Syracuse Player to Watch: Michael Carter-Williams
MCW is not only one of the best facilitators in the nation, but at 6’6”, he’s also an ideal defender at the top of Syracuse’s defense.
He has been using his length and athleticism to stymie numerous elite guards and wing players during the Orange’s run to the Final Four, but he has yet to face a group as prolific on the offensive end as Michigan.
Coach Jim Boeheim will task Carter-Williams with not only defending Burke—a speedy and crafty point guard with unlimited range—but also Tim Hardaway Jr.—a sizeable shooting guard who can hit from anywhere—and Glenn Robinson III—a swingman who plays bigger than his 6’6” frame indicates.
If he’s able to lock down these players and still have the energy left to lead the offensive attack, expect ‘Cuse to waltz to a championship game appearance.
Michigan Player to Watch: Trey Burke
Burke earned the best conference’s (Big Ten) Player of the Year award and might have locked up his Naismith College Player of the Year honors, too. After the deep three-pointer with seconds left on the clock that brought his team to overtime against Kansas in the Sweet 16, there was no doubting who was the best player on the floor and possibly the nation.
Despite his 6’0” stature, Burke is able to dominate opposing defenders and get to where he needs to be on the floor. Whether he decides to shoot or dump off to an open teammate, the Wolverines usually find success when their point guard is making things happen.
He’ll have his hands full against Carter-Williams on Saturday, so make sure you tune in to see who wins this crucial matchup.
A great defense usually beats an equally potent offense, meaning we’re giving the Orange a slight edge in this contest.
Which team will win?
Any team that plays defense well enough to hold opponents under 30 percent from the field and 15 percent on three-pointers during the course of four games deserves credit.
While Michigan is capable of putting up points, Syracuse will limit the Wolverines' baskets and make them pay on the other end with an efficient offensive attack of its own.