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FINALS WATCH: Michigan wins, Louisville up next

Sunday - 4/7/2013, 1:42pm  ET

Michigan players react after the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game against Syracuse, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta. Michigan won 61-56. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Around the Final Four and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of everything surrounding the games.



Move over Fab Five, there's a new bunch of Wolverines playing for the title.

Michigan overcame shaky foul shooting in the closing seconds Saturday night to fend off Syracuse 61-56 in the Final Four, advancing to face Louisville in its first title game since Chris Webber and Co. made black shoes and baggy shorts fashionable in 1993.

The Wolverines appeared to have solved the Orange's vaunted 2-3 zone defense, only for the Big East upstarts to mount a second-half charge. Syracuse got within 57-56 on a 3-pointer by James Southerland, but a charging call on Brandon Triche moments later deflated the Orange.

It was Michigan coach John Beilein's first victory in 10 tries against Syracuse counterpart Jim Boeheim.

The Wolverines haven't won the national title since beating Seton Hall for it in 1989, but they'll get another chance against the Cardinals, who beat Wichita State 72-68.

-- Dave Skretta --



Michigan wants to follow the same gameplan it executed in the first half, showing millions how to break down a zone:

Make 3-pointers. Move the ball into the post, then let the big fella create.

Forward Mitch McGary had four assists, yes, assists, to go with his six points and seven rebounds in the first half. Michael Albrecht and Caris Levert were 4 for 5 from 3-point range. No surprise, then, that Michigan is winning this thing by seven with 15:58 left in the second half.

-- Eddie Pells --



If it seems like this game is going faster than the first semifinal that's because there is more of a flow to it. It probably won't turn into the foul-fest that slowed down the Louisville-Wichita State matchup.

Michigan doesn't foul much, and the Wolverines don't draw very many fouls either. At the end of the first half with Michigan leading 36-25 only eight fouls have been called.

Louisville and Wichita State combined for a total of 43 fouls.

On offense, Michigan is getting contributions from its bench. Caris LeVert -- who at one point looked like he might redshirt the season -- has made a couple 3-pointers. He had 11 3-pointers all season before the national semifinal.

Spike Albrecht has also hit one from beyond the arc.

-- Noah Trister --



A reminder of an infamous moment in Michigan basketball history can be seen near the court.

There's a sign that says "TIME OUTS LEFT" with the No. 5 on it. Hard to tell if the tone is a mocking one or if it's just a Michigan fan trying to be helpful. There is a block "M'' on the message.

Former Michigan star Chris Webber called a timeout in the last seconds of the 1993 championship game against North Carolina -- but the Wolverines didn't have any left. The play resulted in technical fouls against Michigan and the Tar Heels went on to win 77-71.

-- Noah Trister



Anybody seen James Southerland?

The Syracuse forward has gone missing against Michigan, missing his first five shots and being a total non-factor on both ends of the court in the national semifinals.

Southerland has been key to the Orange's late-season run. He was suspended in mid-January, struggled when he was cleared to return in February, but has been splendid over the past eight games -- back-to-back 20-point efforts in the Big East tournament, and 16 points in a regional semifinal win over Marquette that sent Syracuse back to the Final Four.

Not only was Southerland scoreless with 3:38 to go against the Wolverines, the senior from Bayside, N.Y., had just three rebounds and two fouls to go with a pair of turnovers.

-- Dave Skretta



Talk about having a good day.

If you haven't heard, not only is Rick Pitino's team in the national championship game, his horse is also in the Kentucky Derby.

Shortly before Pitino's Louisville team rallied to beat Wichita State 72-68 in the Final Four on Saturday, Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby in Arcadia, Calif., to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Pitino is a minority owner in the horse, trained by Doug O'Neill. O'Neill trained I'll Have Another, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year.

The race wasn't as close as Pitino's game. Goldencents won by 1 1/4 lengths.

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