The Shockers last made the Final Four back in 1965, where they fell to the UCLA Bruins, 108-89, en route to coach John Wooden's second NCAA title in as many years.
On the other side of the bracket, two No. 4 seeds that many people wrote off as the regular season winded down face off in what should be one of the more exciting offensive and defensive battles in the tournament as the Syracuse Orange take on the Michigan Wolverines.
The Cardinals have been steamrolling the competition as the overall No. 1 seed should. Louisville has beaten their opponents by an average of approximately 22 points a game. Their emotional 85-63 win over the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils cost them backup guard Kevin Ware to a horrible leg injury, but also provided even more fuel for their national title run.
Meanwhile, the Shockers are the little school that could. Wichita St. laid a beat down on Pittsburgh, topped a No. 1 seed in Gonzaga, sent the other Cinderella packing in La Salle, and gutted out a tough victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Shockers might have had an easier path to the Final Four than Louisville, but it isn't just dumb luck to end up in Atlanta. The Shockers are the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to reach the Final Four since seeding started in 1979 and the team gobbles up coach Gregg Marshall's mantra of playing angry.
Prior to the start of the tournament, the Orange and the Wolverines were both limping to the finish line of the regular season. Syracuse went 5-7 in its final 12 games, the Wolverines a tad bit better at 6-6. But wins and losses during the regular season don't mean much if you get hot in March, which is exactly what both Syracuse and Michigan have done.
It will be a clear contrast between the two teams. Michigan's offense is the most efficient according to Kenpom's adjusted ratings. Syracuse's famed zone has done what it always does, confound opponents and completely take them off their game. Kenpom ranks the Orange as the fifth-most efficient defense in the nation.
The point guard matchup alone is enough to drool over. Michigan sophomore Trey Burke and Syracuse sophomore Michael Carter-Williams have stepped up in big ways when their teams needed them most. Both players will most likely be NBA lottery picks in the upcoming draft, and it'll be interesting to see who ends up with the bigger game. Carter-Williams led all scorers with 24 points in Syracuse's win over No. 1 Indiana. Burke scored all 23 of his points in the second half, including the long three to force overtime in the Orange's win over the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.
No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 9 Wichita State, 3:10 p.m. ET, CBS
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 4 Syracuse, 5:50 p.m. ET, CBS