ATLANTA -- An inspired Louisville squad vs. the surprising Shockers.

A new group of Fab Wolverines vs. the stingiest zone defense in college basketball.

After a weekend of blowouts and another upset, the Final Four is set.

Top overall seed Louisville will face Wichita State at the Georgia Dome next Saturday, while Michigan takes on Syracuse in the other national semifinal. The winners advance to the April 8 championship.

On Sunday, the Cardinals drew inspiration from a gruesome injury to guard Kevin Ware and cruised past Duke 85-63 in the Midwest Regional. Michigan led from the opening tip, routing Florida 79-59 in the South.

A day earlier, Syracuse shut down Marquette 55-39 to win the East. Wichita State punched its Final Four ticket with a 70-66 upset of Ohio State out West.

In the final year of the Big East before it splits into two new conferences, Louisville and Syracuse provided a fitting send-off to a league that quickly became a basketball powerhouse after it was founded in 1979.

Before it goes, this version of the Big East has a shot at one more national title.

With two teams, no less.

The Cardinals – who, like Syracuse, are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference – were the only No. 1 seed to make it to the Final Four. And, boy, it's been an impressive run.

Louisville (33-5) has won its four NCAA games by an average margin of nearly 22 points, capped by a second-half blowout of Duke after the Cardinals shook off the incredible shock of Ware's injury with about 6 1/2 minutes to go before halftime.

"We won this for him," coach Rick Pitino said.

The sophomore snapped his lower right leg after coming down awkwardly while defending a 3-point shot. The injury occurred right in front of the Louisville bench, where the players gasped and turned away quickly at the sight of Ware's dangling leg, which was broken in two places.

Russ Smith collapsed onto the floor, along with several players, and was crying as doctors attended to Ware. While Ware was loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until Pitino called them over, saying the injured player wanted to talk to them before he left.

The sophomore, who played his high school ball in suburban Atlanta, urged his teammates to complete the trip to the Georgia Dome. Pitino wiped his eyes as Ware was wheeled out, as did several Louisville players.

"All he kept saying – and remember, the bone is 6 inches out of his leg – all he's yelling is, `Win the game! Win the game!'" Pitino said. "I've never seen that in my life. We're all distraught and all he's saying is, `Win the game.' Kevin is a special young man."

This is a special team. Smith scored 23 points. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

The Cardinals simply refused to lose, breaking open a game that was tied at 42. They dove on the floor for loose balls. They pounded the boards ferociously. They contested every shot and swarmed around the Blue Devils like they had an extra player on the court.

In a sense, they did. During every timeout, Pitino reminded the players of their hospitalized teammate.

"This is a gritty bunch," the coach said. "From the beginning of the year to now, they've not had a bad game. I'm really proud of these guys."

While the Cardinals are the clear favorite heading to their second straight Final Four, Wichita State was the most improbable team to advance.

The ninth-seeded Shockers lived up to their nickname in the West, knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round and No. 2 seed Ohio State in the regional final Saturday night.

Wichita State (30-8) built a 20-point lead on the Buckeyes, then managed to hang on through a nerve-racking final five minutes to pull off the latest upset in a tournament filled with them.

The Shockers will need an even bigger stunner to knock off Louisville, the one team in a wide-open tournament that has looked unbeatable.

Then again, that other team from Kansas has shown no fear so far.

"It feels very good," said Cleanthony Early, a junior forward who, like most guys on this team, was passed over by higher-profile programs, "but we understand the fact that we've got to stay hungry and humble, because we've got two more games left to really be excited about."

Old-timers might remember Louisville and Wichita State as former conference rivals. The Cardinals were a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in the 1960s and `70s, which meant annual games against the Shockers.

Louisville holds a 19-5 edge in the series, but the teams haven't played since 1976.

Michigan (30-7) is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five era of the early 1990s, when the Wolverines lost in back-to-back national title games.

This team has much the same feel, led by sophomore Trey Burke, the Big Ten player of the year, and three freshmen starters. They were downright fabulous against Florida on Sunday, never seriously threatened after scoring the first 13 points.

"A lot of guys said we were really young and that we couldn't get here," said Burke, who scored 15 points against Florida but really came through in an improbable comeback against top-seeded Kansas in the regional semifinals. "We're here now and we still have unfinished business."

One of the freshmen, Nik Stauskas, hit all six of his 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the fourth-seeded Wolverines past the third-seeded Gators. Another of the youngsters, 6-foot-10 Mitch McGary, chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Florida became the first team to make it to three straight regional finals without winning any of them, according to STATS.

The Wolverines will have their work cut out against Syracuse (30-9), a team that has totally stuffed its NCAA opponents with a stifling zone defense. The fourth-seeded Orange are headed to their first Final Four since winning it all in 2003 largely because they have allowed fewer than 46 points a game in the tournament.

Syracuse leads the series against Michigan 8-5. Their last meeting was Nov. 26, 2010, when the Orange prevailed 53-50 in the Legends Classic at Atlantic City, N.J.

The schools have never met in the NCAA tournament.

Syracuse has been like an octopus when it settles in around the its own lane – shutting off passing routes, preventing anyone from penetrating, yet still managing to defend the 3-point line with quickness and long arms. Montana, California, top-seeded Indiana and Marquette combined to make just under 29 percent from the field (61 of 211) and a paltry 15.4 percent (14 of 91) outside the arc.

"We were as active these two games here in Washington as we've ever been," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after Saturday's win over league rival Marquette, which is headed to a new version of the Big East next season. "I just really can't say enough about how good these guys played on the defensive end of the court."

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Loading Slideshow...
  • Louisville players celebrate following their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski

    Louisville players celebrate after their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. In the background Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, right, congratulates Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rasheed Sulaimon, Quinn Cook

    Duke guards Rasheed Sulaimon, left, and Quinn Cook sit in the locker room after Louisville defeated Duke 85-63 in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Peyton Siva, Chane Behanan

    Louisville's Peyton Siva, left, and Chane Behanan, celebrate following their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Behanan was wearing the jersey of teammate Kevin Ware (5) who was injured during the game. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Louisville players walk to their locker room following the trophy presentation after their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rasheed Sulaimon

    Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon wipes his tears after Louisville defeated Duke 85-63 in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rick Pitino

    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino celebrates after Louisville defeated Duke 85-63 in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mason Plumlee

    Duke forward Mason Plumlee looks at the clock in the final seconds of the the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Louisville won 85-63 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Peyton Siva

    Louisville guard Peyton Siva (3) holds up the regional trophy as Louisville players celebrate their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Peyton Siva

    Louisville guard Peyton Siva celebrates following Louisville's 85-63 win over Duke in Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Chane Behanan

    Louisville's Chane Behanan leaps in the air as he wears the jersey of injured teammate Kevin Ware as he and teammates celebrate their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Chane Behanan

    Louisville forward Chane Behanan (21) celebrates after Louisville's 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Louisville players celebrate following their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Russ Smith

    Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) goes up with a layup against Duke defenders during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith, Mason Plumlee

    Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) goes up with a layup past Duke's Mason Plumlee (5) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Chane Behanan, Seth Curry

    Louisville forward Chane Behanan (21) goes after a loose ball in front of Duke's Seth Curry (30) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Louisville won 85-63 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Rick Pitino

    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino directs his team during the second half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Louisville won 85-63 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Chane Behanan, Mason Plumlee

    Louisville forward Chane Behanan (21) and Duke forward Mason Plumlee (5) reach for a rebound during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Seth Curry

    Duke guard Seth Curry (30) reacts during the second half of the Midwest Regional final against Louisville in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Louisville won 85-63 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Seth Curry, Russ Smith

    Duke guard Seth Curry (30) tries to pass the ball against Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Duke won 85-63 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith, Quinn Cook, Mason Plumlee

    Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) goes up with a shot against Duke's Quinn Cook (2) and Mason Plumlee (5) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Gorgui Dieng, Mason Plumlee, Rasheed Sulaimon

    Louisville center Gorgui Dieng (10) comes down with a rebound between Duke's Mason Plumlee (5) and Rasheed Sulaimon, right, during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mason Plumlee, Wayne Blackshear

    Duke's Mason Plumlee (5) blocks a shot by Louisville's Wayne Blackshear (20) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mike Krzyzewski

    Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski argues a call with an official during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Louisville in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Quinn Cook, Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Gorgui Dieng

    Duke guard Quinn Cook (2) goes up with a shot against Louisville's Chane Behanan (21), Wayne Blackshear (20), and Gorgui Dieng, right, during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Peyton Siva, Wayne Blackshear

    Louisville's Peyton Siva (3) and Wayne Blackshear (20) react during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Quinn Cook, Mason Plumlee

    Duke's Quinn Cook (2) passes the ball to forward Mason Plumlee during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Louisville in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rasheed Sulaimon, Gorgui Dieng

    Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) goes up for a shot against Louisville center Gorgui Dieng (10) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Quinn Cook, Mason Plumlee

    Duke's Quinn Cook (2) passes the ball to forward Mason Plumlee during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Louisville in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rick Pitino

    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino argues a call during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Peyton Siva, Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear

    Louisville's Peyton Siva, left, Chane Behanan, center, and Wayne Blackshear (20) react to LKevin Ware's injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mike Krzyzewski

    Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Louisville in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith, Duke's Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston

    Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) tries to pass the ball against Duke's Mason Plumlee and Josh Hairston (15) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith

    Louisville guard Russ Smith (2) smiles as he talks to an official during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Montrezl Harrell, Josh Hairston

    Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell (24) tries to keep control of the ball against Duke forward Josh Hairston during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear

    Louisville's Chane Behanan, foreground, and Wayne Blackshear (20) react to guard Kevin Ware's injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Louisville players huddle after guard Kevin Ware was taken out of the game after an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Russ Smit, Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan

    Louisville's Russ Smith (2), Gorgui Dieng (10) and Chane Behanan react to guard Kevin Ware's injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mason Plumlee, Chane Behanan, Gorgui Dieng

    Duke forward Mason Plumlee (5) tries to pass the ball against Louisville forward Chane Behanan (21) and center Gorgui Dieng (10) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Kevin Ware

    Louisville guard Kevin Ware is taken off of the court on a stretcher after his injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Kevin Ware

    Louisville players talk to guard Kevin Ware after Ware's injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rick Pitino, Kevin Ware, injury, injured

    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and trainers tend to injured guard Kevin Ware during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Duke, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Ware badly injured his lower right leg and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Wayne Blackshear (20) and Chane Behanan

    Louisville's Wayne Blackshear (20) and Chane Behanan (21) react to Kevin Ware's injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Rick Pitino, Kevin Ware, injury, injured

    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and trainers tend to injured guard Kevin Ware during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Duke, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Ware badly injured his lower right leg and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Kevin Ware

    Trainers and medical personnel treat Louisville guard Kevin Ware after an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Kevin Ware

    Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware (5) after Ware injured his lower right leg during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. Ware left the court on a stretcher. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Kevin Ware

    Louisville guard Kevin Ware (5) reacts as trainers look at his injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Louisville players huddle as guard Kevin Ware is treated for an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Peyton Siva

    Duke's Mason Plumlee, right, battles for a rebound against Louisville's Gorgui Dieng (10) and Peyton Siva (3) during the first half of the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith, Gorgui Dieng, Montrezl Harrell

    Louisville players Russ Smith (2), Gorgui Dieng (10) and Montrezl Harrell, right, react to an injury to guard Kevin Ware during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Russ Smith, Gorgui Dieng, Montrezl Harrell

    Louisville players Russ Smith (2), Gorgui Dieng (10) and Montrezl Harrell, right, react to an injury to guard Kevin Ware during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)