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Final Four Preview


It’s been a long journey to Atlanta for the four remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament, but the work is far from over, with a National Championship still to play for.

Each team has certainly proved itself worthy of its spot in the Final Four, but something’s gotta give when great teams clash. Who will move on to the National Championship game? Today, we’re taking a close look at both Final Four match-ups and providing our point-spread picks.

Louisville Cardinals -10.5 vs. Wichita State Shockers +10.5

The Cardinals have been favored by more than 10 points in each tournament game they’ve played and that trend will continue when they take on 2013’s biggest cinderella – Wichita State.

On the flip side, the Shockers are used to being underestimated by odds makers. They were a five-point dog against Ohio State and an even bigger one against Gonzaga, and we saw how those games worked out.

Still, Louisville has been so undeniably impressive, that 10-11 points seems about right. Even against mighty Duke, the Cardinals pulled away in the second half, while being a man down.

The Cardinals will have a tough challenge in guarding Shockers star guard Malcolm Armstead, but WSU will have its own issues in trying to stop Russ Smith, who has scored over 100 points in four tournament games.

Wichita State has been a great story, but we can’t go against Louisville here. They’ve covered three of the four 10-plus point spreads they’ve been spotted and with their eye on the top prize, the Shockers probably won’t be able to slow them down. Take the Cardinals to cover -10.5 as they pull away in the final minutes.

Michigan Wolverines -2 vs. Syracuse Orange +2

Like the Shockers, the Orange have continued to exceed expectations as the tournament has worn on. Their impenetrable zone defense has stymied even some of the nation’s best offenses – including Indiana – but the Orange haven’t faced a team as hot as the Wolverines.

Michigan’s sharp outside shooting and up-tempo offense has been able to outgun every opponent it has faced thus far. The Wolverines will certainly be challenged by Syracuse’s length and quick hands, but if they continue to shoot well, it will probably be lights out for the Orange.

Michigan’s defense has also been impressive and with Syracuse not bringing much offensive firepower into this match-up, it will likely be difficult for the Orange to keep up on the scoreboard.

If Michigan is able to dictate the tempo and hit perimeter shots, this game might actually end in a rout. Even if Syracuse manages the game and controls the tempo, it still will likely lose in a close game, so take the Wolverines to cover -2 this weekend.

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