A look at the Final Four matchups, listing probable starters, with analysis by Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan:
Time: 6:09 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 1. Louisville (33-5/10-0); 9. Wichita State (30-8/7-3).
Analysis: If you want to know whether an upset is possible, go back to Nov. 13. On that night, Wichita State beat Virginia Commonwealth, 53-51, in Richmond. VCU doesn’t measure up to Louisville but the Rams are a formidable opponent that plays a similar style to Louisville. The Shockers are capable of slowing the pace and tilting the court in their favor, turning it into a half-court wrestling match in which each basket is precious. This isn’t going to surprise you: Louisville was second in the nation in turnover margin (behind VCU). Rick Pitino’s strategy is to force turnovers. Wichita State averages 12.6 turnovers per game and all of its key players are good ballhandlers. So you can make a case for Wichita State. But the Cardinals have been the most consistent team in the tournament. They’ve played like the overall No. 1 seed, and if they play up to their standards, they should win.
Time: 8:49 p.m. Seed, record/last 10: 4. Michigan (30-7/7-3); 4. Syracuse (30-9/8-2).
|10||Tim Hardaway Jr.||6-6||14.6||4.6|
|1||Glenn Robinson III||6-6||11.0||5.5|
Analysis: Speaking at an event for Globe subscribers in Boston this week, former UConn coach Jim Calhoun said this is the best zone defense he has ever seen Syracuse play. That’s scary. No wonder Marquette scored only 39 points. Michigan has a lot more offensive skill than Marquette. The Wolverines have All-America point guard Trey Burke, who’s a threat to score or find open teammates. And those teammates, especially Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, can score. I expect Michigan will be able to score enough. Syracuse’s advantage will be in the paint. The Orange’s big men are not outstanding but athletic forward C.J. Fair can score inside. Michigan must hit the defensive boards and then look to run, another key to beating Syracuse’s zone. If the Wolverines can’t find a way to score, and if they fail to rebound, they’re in big trouble.