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FINALS WATCH: Shockers first out

Saturday - 4/6/2013, 5:42pm  ET

Wichita State fan Tim Eichler cheers before the first half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game between Louisville and Wichita State, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Wichita State was the first team to hit the floor at the Final Four on Saturday.

The Shockers slowly walked onto the elevated court of the Georgia Dome more than 60 minutes before their scheduled tip-off against Louisville in the first national semifinal.

Even though they'd had a couple practices in the cavernous football stadium, they still spent a minute staring up at the ceiling, the row upon row of seats and the video screens at each end, almost as if the No. 9 seed was seeing everything for the first time.

Once the balls were finally released by the NCAA, they began their warm-ups in earnest.

Louisville, which played in the Superdome in New Orleans in last year's Final Four, came out about 20 minutes later. The Cardinals wore their suddenly familiar "Ri5e" shirts meant to honor teammate Kevin Ware, who broke his leg in the regional finals against Duke.

-- Dave Skretta -- http://twitter.com/@APdaveskretta

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NCAA Finals Watch follows the Final Four games and all the activities surrounding the event as seen by journalists from The Associated Press from across Atlanta. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.


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