The 2013 NCAA tournament is in the Final Four, and it's time to break down the odds for each game.
Both of these games will be fantastic, as each team has won with strong defense and timely shooting.
Who has the best odds, and which teams will find their way into the championship game?
Read on to find out.
(4) Syracuse vs. (4) Michigan
Michigan has the odds in its favor, as Vegas Insider has them at -2, Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight gives them a 21.2 percent chance of winning it all and BetVega gives them a 3/1 chance. That said, it will be tough for the Wolverines to win.
Syracuse is holding opposing teams to a remarkable 45.8 points per game. Their patented 2-3 zone has been nearly impossible to break.
Michael Carter-Williams, a 6'7" guard with freakish athleticism, closes passing lanes and contests perimeter shots. That will be key against Trey Burke, the Michigan star who is averaging 15.5 points per game. If he can't get a clear shot, then it will be a long day for the Wolverines.
The only way Michigan will win is if power forward Mitch McGary plays at an incredibly high level. The 6'10" freshman is averaging 17.5 points per game in the tournament and has been nearly unstoppable on the low block. Syracuse doesn't have the big men to bang with him, but the Wolverines will struggle to find passing lanes to get the ball to him.
Syracuse's defense will prove too much to handle for Michigan. They won't be able to get easy shots, and Carter-Williams will use his length to create steals and turn it into points for the Orange.
(1) Louisville vs. (9) Wichita State
Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight gives Louisville a 55 percent chance to win it all. BetVega gives the team 1/2 odds of winning the whole thing. Vegas Insider has Louisville at a -10.5 spread. It's quite an impressive spread:
Louisville is the 2nd biggest Final Four favorite (10.5) since field expanded to 65 teams in 1985 ... (Duke was 11 pt fav in 99' over Mich)— Louisville Insider (@ULBasketball) April 2, 2013
Wichita State has stunned the world by beating both No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Ohio State on its way to Atlanta. A popular pick to be ousted in the second round, the Shockers have impressed with their tenacious defense and physical play. They are holding opponents to 34.3 percent from the field.
They'll run into perhaps the best team in the tournament in Louisville. Louisville beat No. 2 seed Duke by a remarkable score of 85-63. Russ Smith is playing incredibly, averaging 26 points per game.
The Shockers will need a top shooting performance from Ron Baker. The redshirt freshman played just 10 games before an injury caused him to miss more than two months. But he's back and playing tremendously. In seven tournament games (including the Missouri Valley Conference), Baker is shooting 8-of-15 from two and 11-of-26 from three. The Shockers need him to play well because Louisville has a stifling defense that is giving up only 59 points per game in the tournament.
Louisville loves to get out and run, and that works in its favor. Wichita State's defense is good but is better in the halfcourt. If the Cardinals are able to dictate the pace and play fast, then they stand a good shot of winning.
Wichita State is a great story, and it is on a terrific Cinderella run. But Louisville is far and away the best team in this tournament, and the Shockers will find it hard to pull off another upset.
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