It’s been a perilous journey for some, an unlikely ascension for others — but after five rounds of sneaker-squealing play, the 2013 March Madness Final Four field is set with Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan and Syracuse all poised to compete for the National Championship in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on Monday, April 8.

The teams have earned their spots, and the Final Four schedule is locked in, too. Saturday, April 6, will see both Final Four games: No. 9 Wichita State plays tournament overall No. 1 seed Louisville Saturday at 6:09 p.m., while two No. 4 seeds in Syracuse and Michigan go head to head thereafter at 8:49 p.m.

Of all the expert March Madness 2013 brackets we’ve covered so far — ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and Jay Bilas; Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated; statistician savant Nate Silver; and President Barack Obama among them — not one nailed this year’s Final Four team for team. In fact, with Indiana, Ohio State and Gonzaga representing such popular picks this year, many of the game’s biggest analysts — Kid President included — will have to wait until next year to fill out more flawless brackets.

Even the overall points leader in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, home to millions of bracket entries, didn’t pick all four of the tournament’s final teams. However, the current leader does have Syracuse winning with Louisville and Michigan right in there with them.

Even more impressive? The bracket currently in second place did correctly pick all four of this year’s Final Four contenders, and even has Wichita State winning it all. (Though the tiebreaker score of 102-93 is highly suspect; zero teams have reached triple digits so far.)

Syracuse returns to the Final Four for the first time since 2003, handling its opponents en route by a combined tally of 80 points. The Orange is 3-0 in national semifinals under coach Jim Boeheim. Michigan, for its part, hasn’t tasted the Final Four round since 1993 and now hopes to bring home just the second national championship in school history behind star guard Trey Burke.

The Cardinals of Louisville have been a favorite pick since the beginning, earning the top seed by rolling over most teams they’ve faced so far. Their 85-63 domination over Duke in the Elite 8 is the team’s twelfth double-digit win during its current 14-game win streak.

Now that the swagalicious Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have met their maker, No. 9 Wichita State has emerged as the sole Cinderella remaining in this year’s tourney, as the Shockers attempt to win two more games to become the lowest-seeded national champion in NCAA history. WSU is the first team from the Missouri Valley to reach the Final Four since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979.

Here’s the schedule for the remainder of March Madness:


(1) Louisville vs. (9) Wichita State — Saturday, April 6 @ 6:09 p.m. EST — TV coverage: CBS

(4) Michigan vs. (4) Syracuse — Saturday, April 6 @ 8:49 p.m. EST — TV coverage: CBS


Monday, April 8 — TBD

This opinion is my own, but .. GO SHOCKERS!