Two games to decide Monday’s contestants.
No. 9-seed Wichita State Shockers (30-8) vs. No.1-seed Louisville (32-5)
Wichita State defeated No. 2-seed Ohio State, 70-66 in Los Angeles, Calif., for the team’s 30th win, a school record. Malcolm Armstead led four double-figure scorers with 14 points. Armstead and Cleanthony Early had seven boards while Carl Hall had six blocked shots. Malcolm Armstead averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.75 assists and 2.0 steals in the four NCAA Tournament games to be named the West Regional Most Outstanding Player. Carl Hall was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Wichita State won its 29th game this season against La Salle to advance to its fourth Elite Eight appearance. WSU also played in the Regional title game in 1964, 1965, 1981 and now in 2013. WSU only advanced once to the Final Four, and that was during the 1965 season. Former Final Four Shocker player Manny Zafiros was in attendance against La Salle. The 30 current wins is one more than the 2010-11 team that won 29 games and the NIT Postseason Championship with a 5-0 record.
Louisville has advanced to its 10th NCAA Final Four, reaching that plateau the last two years. Louisville is seventh in NCAA Final Four appearances. Louisville has reached the Elite Eight in four of the last six years. Only three coaches have coached more Final Four teams than Pitino’s six, a feat matched by one other. Pitino became the first coach to lead three different teams to the Final Four in 2005. Louisville’s NCAA Final Four teams: 1959, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2005, 2012, 2013. Louisville has a 2-7 record in national semifinal games. The Cardinals won the 1980 and 1986 NCAA Championships.
This is Louisville’s longest winning streak since winning 14 straight early in the 2003-04 season — the Cardinals have limited their opponents to 38.2 percent shooting from the field and 56.3 points per game, forced an average of 17.9 turnovers and collected an average of 10.9 steals. Over the last 14, the Cardinals have shot 72.6 percent from the free throw line and have a +17.4 scoring margin. Individually in that 14-game stretch, Russ Smith is the scoring leader, averaging 19.9 points per game, Gorgui Dieng has nearly averaged a double-double (11.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg), and Peyton Siva has averaged 9.3 points, 5.4 assists and 2.4 steals. Luke Hancock has hit 22-of-46 threes in that stretch (.478). Seven of the Cardinals’ 10 Final Four teams produced winning streaks of at least 13 games at one point during those seasons.
No. 4 seed Michigan (30-7) vs. No. 4 seed Syracuse (30-9)
Michigan advanced to its first Final Four since 1993 and the seventh (fifth*) Final Four in school history. The Wolverines defeated No. 4 seed Florida, 79-59, to win the South Region. U-M defeated No. 1 seed Kansas, 87-85, in overtime, in the regional semifinals. On the opening weekend of the tournament, the Wolverines defeated No. 13 seed South Dakota State (71-56) and No. 5 seed VCU (78-53) in Auburn Hills, Mich. Michigan has outscored its four opponents in the NCAA Tournament by an average of 15.5 points.
Michigan has played in the Georgia Dome twice previously, both coming in the 1988 NCAA Tournament. Michigan defeated Davidson (80-61*) in the fi rst round before falling to UCLA (85-82*) in the second round. Saturday’s national semifinal appearance is tied for the latest Michigan has played in the spring. The Wolverines also played on April 6, 1992* in the national championship game against Duke. Coming into Saturday’s national semifinal, the largest crowd to see a Michigan basketball game is 64,151, in both the 1993 Final Four and national championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans, La.
Michigan is 17-0 this season against non-conference opponents. Michigan is 5-8 (4-7*) all-time against Syracuse. Michigan is 0-1 all-time against the Orange during John Beilein’s tenure, falling 53-50 on Nov. 26, 2010, in the semifinals of the Legends Classic in Atlantic City, N.J. Jordan Morgan scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in that contest, while Tim Hardaway Jr., scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds.
Michigan and Syracuse will be meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Michigan head coach John Beilein is 0-9 all-time against Jim Boeheim and Syracuse. Beilein is 0-1 against the Orange while at Michigan; he was 0-2 against Syracuse while at Richmond and 0-6 while at West Virginia. John Beilein spent nine seasons as the head coach at Division II LeMoyne College (1983-93), in Syracuse, N.Y. The campuses of LeMoyne and Syracuse are less than three miles apart.
Syracuse is the first team in the “shot clock era” to hold three teams under 50 points during the NCAA Tournament. SU held three of its ﬁrst four NCAA Tournament opponents to their fewest point totals of the year — Montana (34), Indiana (50), Marquette (39). Montana’s 11 ﬁeld goals were the fewest in an NCAA Tournament game since 1949 and tied for the eighth-fewest in tournament history. Syracuse’s NCAA opponents have committed 67 turnovers while making only 61 ﬁeld goals. Three of the four opponents (Montana, Indiana and Marquette) ﬁnished with more turnovers than baskets. Marquette’s 39 points was the fewest ever for a team in a regional ﬁnal since the shot clock was introduced in 1986.
Coach Boeheim has a 52-28 (.650) in the NCAA Tournament. He ranks fourth in career coaching wins in the event. Coach Boeheim is 3-0 in NCAA semiﬁnals, guiding SU to wins against Providence (1987), Mississippi State (1996) and Texas (2003).