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Final Four start time: Louisville vs. Wichita State

The first game of Saturday night's NCAA Final Four playoffs will be No. 1 seed Louisville vs. No. 9 seed Wichita state. Why Louisville is the sentimental favorite even against the Cinderella team.

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Problem is, in this case, Louisville and Ware are already tugging on America's heart strings.

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"We're brothers for life," swingman Luke Hancock said. "I have that guy's back in any situation. I know he has mine."

Louisville (33-5) is a 10½-point favorite against the Shockers (30-8).

The second semifinal tipoff is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. tonight, and is expected to be more competitive. Michigan (30-7) is a 2-point favorite against Syracuse (30-9). The Wolverines are back at the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five led them there in 1993. Syracuse returns on the 10-year anniversary of its only title, led by Carmelo Anthony.

The featured players in this game: For Michigan, Trey Burke, The Associated Press Player of the Year. And for Syracuse, well, it's coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense.

How will Boeheim try to stop Burke, whose long-range 3-pointer against Kansas sent the game into overtime and set the stage for the Wolverines run to Atlanta?

"I don't pay attention to matchups," Boeheim said. "It's teams. Teams play."

Indeed, during interviews Friday, the Syracuse players sounded plenty confident that their team could stop Burke and the rest of the Wolverines, who followed their victory over top-seeded Kansas with a 20-point blowout of Florida in the regional final.

"It's tough to go against our zone when you've never seen it before," forward C.J. Fair said. "We want to force him to do some things he's not done before."

While Burke may be the most-watched player in the second game, all eyes figure to be on Ware in the opener, even though he'll never touch a basketball.

He lives near Atlanta and traveled with the team for the Final Four. When the Cardinals arrived Wednesday night, he was in a wheelchair and the plan is for him to be on the bench for the game.

Louisville faces some practical concerns not having Ware in the lineup.

He was the main substitute for Russ Smith and Siva, the guards who guide the Louisville press and its offense, as well.

"Our players totally understand the challenge that lies ahead with this Wichita State team," coach Rick Pitino said. "We understand with Kevin out that we not only have to play very hard, we have to play very, very smart."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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