Both Syracuse and North Carolina have been here before, but the two programs arrive at this week's Final Four under drastically different pretenses.
The generally dominant Tar Heels emerged unscathed as the East Region's No. 1 seed, while Syracuse floundered at the end of the season, narrowly made the NCAA Tournament and has since mounted a four-game run as a No. 10 seed, all the way to the Final Four. So two programs with plenty of recent historical success are standing in each other's way of a little bit more on Saturday night in the second of two national semifinals.
The Tar Heels have had some rough moments, but they've mostly been great all season. Forward Brice Johnson, averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds, has emerged as one of the country's best all-around players. Guard Marcus Paige looks relatively back to himself after struggling upon returning from a broken hand at the start of the season, giving the Heels as deep a backcourt as anybody next to Joel Berry and Nate Britt.
Syracuse wasn't supposed to be here, but the Orange have proven the entire country wrong all month. As a double-digit seed, they rolled over Dayton and Middle Tennessee in the opening weekend, then beat Gonzaga by three points in the Sweet 16 and mounted a late charge to overtake Virginia in the Elite Eight.
So, against all odds, Jim Boeheim's Orange are back in the Final Four. It's the Orange's second such appearance in four years and sixth all time, and they'll look to win their second national title. North Carolina has a whopping 19 Final Fours and five championships, including two under current coach Roy Williams.
The winner here faces either Villanova or Oklahoma in the national final on Monday night. All Final Four games will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Here's how to watch the Orange and Tar Heels:
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Syracuse, 8:49 p.m., TBS
Stream: NCAA March Madness Live
Broadcasters: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
North Carolina Team Stream: TNT, following first game
Syracuse Team Stream: truTV, following first game
* * *
Best NCAA Tournament Player: Was it Carmelo Anthony or Christian Laettner?
Be sure to subscribe to SB Nation's YouTube channel for highlight videos, features, analysis and more