As the Elite 8 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament 2013 wraps up, there are two teams who have already secured spots in the Final Four Round: No. 4 Syracuse University and No. 9 Wichita State.
Syracuse's head coach, Jim Boeheim, called this year's team the best defensive group and they defeated Marquette University in a blowout victory 55-39 in the East Regional final Saturday. This is Boehim's first trip back to the national semifinals since 2003, when Carmelo Anthony helped win the NCAA championship title.
"We go once every 10 years," Boeheim jokingly said.
Marquette only shot 23 percent and made 12 of 53 shots. Vander Blue, who helped Marquette to the elite eight, scored 14 points and was 3-for-15 shooting.
"They beat us from start to finish. We collectively tried everything we knew to try," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "It is the zone, and it is the players in the zone."
President Obama, an avid basketball fan who picked Indiana to win the NCAA title, was sitting in the crowd as Syracuse forced Marquette to miss 14 of the team's first 15 shots beyond the 3-point line.
The Orange now holds a record of 30-9 and was led by senior forward James Southerland's, who finished with 16 points. Last season, Syracuse lost to Ohio State in the elite eight round.
"We wanted to get over the hump," senior forward James Southerland said. "That's what I told the guys: We've still got two more to go."
Syracuse will go up against the winner of Sunday's South Regional, which is between Florida and Michigan. Ohio State won't get a chance to play in the semifinals, since they lost to Wichita State (70-66).
The Buckeyes entered the game with an 11-game winning streak and hadn't lost a game since February. But the No. 2 seed, who President Obama picked for his Final Four NCAA bracket was defeated by the Shockers.
Ohio State made 2-for-10 shots from the 3-point line in the first half after entering the game shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Deshaun Thomas scored 21 points after missing nine of his first 12 shots for the Buckeyes.
CBS reported that Wichita State is the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to advance to the Final Four round since the NCAA Basketball Tournament began seeding in 1979. They are only the second team in three years to do so following VCU, who was an 11-seed in 2011.
The Shockers will face the winner of Sunday's Midwest Regional final between Duke and Louisville.
Final Four National Semifinals
At The Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Saturday April 6, 2013
Winner of Duke/Louisville vs. Wichita State
Winner of Florida/Michigan vs. Syracuse University
Monday, April 8