The NCAA Tournament Final Four gets underway tonight and the late game will see the Syracuse Orange taking on the Michigan Wolverines. The game is scheduled for an 8:49 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the odds for the game have Michigan as a slight favorite. We're down to NCAA Tournament Final Four and it all gets underway on Saturday. With just four teams left, the NCAA Tournament Final Four Odds have become more clear on who oddsmakers believe will win their final two games of the season.
Final Four Odds
Wichita St. +1100
Not many had Syracuse or Michigan getting to the Final Four. The chance of many people having them play each other in this game is far less. Yet, in the first matchup between No. 4 seeds in NCAA Tournament history, one team will play for a national championship on Monday night against either Louisville or Wichita State.
Trey Burke has won nearly every individual national award, but he'd trade them all in for a chance to play for a national title on Monday night. Yet, if the Wolverines can play well tonight they can beat the Syracuse zone defense and have a chance at hanging a banner in Ann Arbor. The big matchup tonight will be between Burke and Orange point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who does have a significant height advantage over Michigan's point guard. Don't expect that to stop Burke, however, as he has proven time and time again this season that he is the best player in college basketball.
Michigan might be the most impressive team in the tournament so far — maybe the six day layoff will hurt them. They ran through South Dakota State, VCU and Florida while squeaking out a huge come from behind overtime win over Kansas in the Sweet 16.
Syracuse has looked equally as impressive with their dominating zone defense, allowing just over 45 points per game in wins over Montana, California, Indiana and Marquette. The Wolverine will no doubt want to run on Syracuse so the Orange can't settle into that zone, but don't expect them to get confused or upset with the zone. Michigan is a very good 3-point shooting team and most of the time wants to shoot a boatload of triples. Syracuse has held opponents to 28.9 percent shooting during the tournament, including 15.4 percent from 3-point land.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas are both deadly 3-point shooters and look for them to toss up several shots from beyond the arc as Burke is the one guy in the country that can infiltrate that Syracuse zone and still find his teammates.
The Orange will want to get key turnovers from Michigan in this one, but that won't be easy. Michigan led the country at just 9.4 turnovers per game during the regular season and in the tournament they've turned it over just 10.5 times.
C.J. Fair and Brandon Triche will both be huge for Syracuse in this one. They are both athletic guys that can get to the rack but also are very good shooters. If either (or both) can score points in this game, it's going to give Syracuse an edge. James Southerland has also had an impressive tournament but Michigan has looked very good on the rebounding scale this post season as well.
Mitch McGary has been a monster in the tournament and he's a double-double machine right now. Look for him to keep Michigan going hard on the glass and if he continues to have big games, Michigan is very dangerous. An inside presence is needed for nearly every national championship and McGary has proven to be a threat down low. He's going to have a big game.
The Wolverines are a great team and have been playing great basketball. That's not to say Syracuse isn't, but Burke has this squad playing at a very good pace and level right now. Hard to go against a kid like that — and a team in Michigan that believes they can win the national championship with a leader out front in Burke. He's going to will them to a win in this one.
Free Pick: Michigan 74, Syracuse 68
Final Four Betting Preview
What college basketball bettors need to know about betting the Final Four on Saturday with a prop bet from Ken Thomson and Marco D'Angelo each.
College Basketball Free Picks: Michigan vs Syracuse Betting
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