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Rothstein: What You Need To Know Ahead Of 2013 Final Four

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 NCAA Tournament (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 NCAA Tournament (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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NCAA Tourney

By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns

TALE OF THE TAPE


LOUISVILLE

Coach: Rick Pitino
Record: 33-5
Starting Five: Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan, Gorgui Dieng
Style: Frenetic
Top Reserve: Luke Hancock
Unsung Presence: Montrezl Harrell

WICHITA STATE

Coach: Gregg Marshall
Record: 30-8
Starting Five: Malcolm Armstead, Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, Cleanthony Early, Carl Hall
Style: Grind
Top Reserve: Fred Van Vleet
Unsung Presence: Ehimen Orukpe

THE SKINNY:

Can the Shockers continue their surge? It all depends on how they handle Louisville’s relentless pressure. Look for Gregg Marshall to regularly use Malcolm Armstead and Fred Van Vleet together to offset the Cardinals’ tenacious defensive prowess. Wichita State has been able to punish opponents on the glass through their first four games in the NCAA Tournament, and that will end against Louisville. Rick Pitino’s team is too big, too talented, and quite frankly, too good.

PREDICTION: LOUISVILLE 62, WICHITA STATE 54

SYRACUSE

Coach: Jim Boeheim
Record: 30-9
Starting Five: Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche, James Southerland, C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas
Style: 2-3 zone, accelerate on offense when available
Top Reserve: Jerami Grant
Unsung Presence: Baye Keita

MICHIGAN

Coach: John Beilein
Record: 30-7
Starting Five: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary
Style: Spread
Top Reserve: Jordan Morgan
Unsung Presence: Spike Albrecht

THE SKINNY:

Talk about a contrast in styles. Syracuse is playing the best defense they’ve played in years while Michigan may have the perfect personnel to pick apart the Orange’s 2-3 zone. A big key in this game? Glenn Robinson III. The Wolverines’ talented freshman forward will play a key role manning the high post in hopes of finding seams in Syracuse’s defense. This has the makings of a truly special game, one that we see the Orange winning on the final possession.

PREDICTION: SYRACUSE 66, MICHIGAN 64

What’s your prediction for the Final Four? Which teams will move on? Be heard in the comments…