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Final Four Picks

4 Michigan vs. 4 Syracuse
Tim Hardaway

Trey Burke will have his hands full dealing with the Syracuse zone in this one. Burke, who has struggled with turnovers against strong defense hopes he can dish out the ball to sharpshooters Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway. With the Syracuse zone forced to move out to cover Stauskas and Hardaway, it may open up opportunities for Mitch McGary in the paint. Meanwhile, the 'Cuse offense will rely heavily on Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. Fair to beat Michigan. Carter-Williams has the size advantage on Burke and he should use it all to attack the rim because he is not as agile as Burke. Even if the Wolverines are able to shoot the ball the way they did against Florida, depth could be an issue late in the game. Other than forwards Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford and guard Spike Albrecht, Michigan does not go very deep into their bench. On the other, the Orange have a ton of players who can contribute in big ways. Brandon Triche, a four-year starter, is in his first Final Four. He can shoot if given the opportunity and gives the team an important leader.  They have also explosive forwards including James Southerland and Rakeem Christmas. A worrying fact for the Wolverines? John Bellein is 0-9 against Jim Boeheim in his career including an 0-1 mark at Michigan. Even with possibly one of his most talented teams he still should have serious issues against Syracuse's zone. This one could come down to the point guard war between Carter-Williams and Burke. The sophomore who performs better should give his team a spot in the national championship. My prediction: Carter-Williams. He doesn't have to deal with the most difficult zone in the nation.
Syracuse, 66 Michigan,62

1 Louisville vs. 9 Wichita State
Peyton Siva
The hottest team in the nation entering the tournament meets up with Cinderella in a very interesting match up in Atlanta. Wichita has beat squads thanks to a gritty, efficient offense. They have relied heavily on big men Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall who haven't been intimidated no matter who they face. Early, particularly has been dominant, scoring effectively and rebounding at an incredible rate. Though, he won't have an easy task against Gorguei Dieng. Dieng won't score a lot but he is one of the best defenders in the nation. Although, the Shockers are great in the paint they could have some issues against Louisville with their aggressive press. Even with great senior guard Malcolm Armstead, turnovers could come often for Wichita. He has too be smart on offense but defense should also be very important. He has too shut down speedy guard Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, who is on fire this tournament. With the paint filled with dueling forwards shooting should be key for the Cardinals. Smith and Siva both are good shooters but they also need some contributions from Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear on the perimeter. If they continue their hot shooting and force the Shockers' to make mistakes this one could turn into a very comfortable victory. But, never underestimate Gregg Marshall and the rest of these Shockers. They could easily shock Louisville if Ron Baker and Early keep up their level of play.
Louisville, 70 Wichita State, 60

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