The Final Four Showdown

The MSU Spokesman

Michigan Wolverines' Star Player Trey Burke
Michigan Wolverines’ Star Player Trey Burke Shooting During the NCAA Tournament.

The men’s NCAA Final Four is set. The show goes down Saturday April 6, and the tip-off for the first game is at 6:09 pm between Wichita State and Louisville. The second game between Syracuse Orange and Michigan Wolverines takes off at 8:49 pm.

We will see the number nine ranked Wichita State Shockers go up against number one seed Louisville State Cardinals. Both teams come in the game with high hopes and dreams of defeating the opposing team.

The Shockers have been somewhat of the “Cinderella Story”  of the tournament, but have been been overshadowed by the Florida Golf Coast. Winning the Missouri Valley Conference the Shockers have beaten many tough teams such as Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, and Ohio State. This will be the Shockers’ second trip to the Final Four since 1965.

The Cardinals are coming off a very emotional win over Duke after losing teammate Kevin Ware to a devastating injury. As number one, they are expected to win it all. This is the Cardinals second straight Final Four appearance. Last year they lost to the University of Kentucky 69-61. After being released from the hospital, Ware was told that he would still be able to play basketball and would also be able to travel to Atlanta with his team, although he would be sitting courtside.

In the “primetime” game there will be a battle between two stifling defenses and the play of fast pace offenses.  Syracuse is led by Baltimore’s own C.J Fair and James Southerland, while Michigan is led by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Syracuse’s last visit to the Final Four came in 2003 when Carmelo Anthony led them to win the NCAA Tournament. The Orange have big shoes to fill as they must keep the Orange alive to make it to the championship game. Orange coach Jim Boeheim is in second as college coach with 920 wins.

Michigan hasn’t been in the Final Four since 1993, when they were led by Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The “Fab 5” were the runner ups in the NCAA Championship after being called for a technical foul in a very close game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Now the Wolverines are led by outstanding players such as Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. who look to make up for the miscue in 1993.

Now that the stage is set, these groups of talented young men will go out on Saturday night and lay it all on the line for a trip to the championship game. Will it be the “Cinderella Story” Wichita State hoping to make their way to the big dance? Or will it be the emotionally charged Cardinals who look to win it all for Kevin Ware and coach Rick Pitino? As the winners out of that game watch two powerful defenses battle in a Big East versus Big Ten matchup between Syracuse and Michigan, its going to be a good Saturday night for sport fans.