Final Four Schedule: Tip Time and What to Watch for in Semifinal Games

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 31:  Matt Vogrich #13, Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 and Spike Albrecht #2 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate their 79 to 59 win over the Florida Gators during the South Regional Round Final of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 31, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Final Four is set to tip off in Atlanta with two very different matchups that will set up a highly anticipated national championship game. 

On one side of the bracket, you have top-seeded Louisville, the ultimate favorite, taking on the ultimate underdog in Wichita State. On the other end, you have two four-seeds with distinctive styles ready to keep their momentum rolling to earn a shot at basketball immortality. 

The tournament as a whole has been a wild and entertaining ride for fans. These semifinal games should continue that trend. Here's all the last-minute info you need to catch all the action and an X-factor to watch in each game. 


Louisville Cardinals vs. Wichita State Shockers


Tip Time: April 6, 6:05 p.m. ET

X-Factor: Wichita State's Three-Point Shooting

Wichita State is the clear underdog here, and it's easy to understand why. 

Louisville entered the tourney as the No. 1 overall seed and hasn't done anything to relinquish its title of tournament favorite. Russ Smith has led the way, and the Cardinals have been among the most dominant teams in the field. 

The Cardinals' pressure defense has given teams fits. If the Shockers are going to be the first team to break 70 against it, they'll need to shoot lights out from three-point range. 

Hot shooting from beyond the arc has been the driving force behind many an upset, and the Shockers have found success in the shooting department before. When they beat No. 1 seed Gonzaga, they shot 14-of-28 from three. 

If they can replicate that performance, they will be able to stay in the game. If they can't? This could get ugly very quickly.


Michigan Wolverines vs. Syracuse Orange


Tip Time: April 6, 8:49 p.m. ET

X-Factor: Turnovers

It may seem obvious, but the team that is able to take care of the ball on the offensive end will win this game. 

Syracuse's zone can be frustrating. Especially to a team that wants to get out and run in the open court like Michigan. Beating the zone takes patience, so if the Wolverines try to force things, it'll be a long night. The Orange forced Marquette into 14 turnovers while limiting themselves to six and picked up a dominant 55-39 win. 

Michigan isn't all that easy on ball-handlers either. It forced Florida into 15 turnovers in their Elite Eight game and also walked away with a dominant victory. 

If the Wolverines want easy buckets, they'll need to force Syracuse into turning the ball over. If Syracuse wants to slow down the pace and play in the half court, it'll need to live in the passing lanes. The team that wins the turnover battle will ultimately determine the pace of the game. 

That's an advantage that will be hard to overcome.