Cleanthony Early, a junior college transfer from New York, is averaging 14.3 points and seven rebounds per game in the tournament for the team that is the shock of the tournament.
Michigan will meet Syracuse in a battle of athletic squads that play contrasting styles (8:49 p.m., Saturday).
With stellar sophomore guard Trey Burke leading the charge, the Wolverines have averaged 78.8 points per game. The Orange’s lengthy 2-3 zone has limited teams to 45.8 points per game.
Burke’s late-game heroics in the Sweet 16 overtime victory lifted Michigan over No. 1 seed Kansas. The National Player of the Year candidate has struggled scoring at time in the tournament but is averaging 15.5 points and 7.8 assists through four games. He’s shooting 33 percent from the field.
Freshman 6-foot-10 forward Mitch McGary has given the Wolverines a surprising lift in the post since moving to the starting lineup with averages of 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in the tournament. In the regular season, McGary averaged 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
The length of Syracuse could present matchup problems for Burke and company as the starting lineup is all 6-foot-4 and taller.
Michael Carter-Williams, the Orange’s 6-foot-6 point guard, is filling the stat sheet for the Orange. Carter-Williams is averaging 13 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game in the tournament.
Syracuse’s only championship came in 2003 and was the most recent out of all of the Final Four teams’ titles.