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TIPPING OFF: Yes, it's Syracuse (and OU, 'Nova and Heels)

'Cuse Stuns UVA, Advances to Final Four

When the word "Syracuse" popped up on the bracket for the first time, most of the so-called experts were crying "foul," not shouting "Final Four."

So much for that.

Coach Jim Boeheim's "I Told You So" tour will travel all the way to Houston. The 10th-seeded Orange became only the fourth double-digit seed to make the Final Four. They aren't the only surprise out of Syracuse. The Orange women's team also shocked the basketball world by advancing to their first Final Four, though the ladies were a four seed.

SEE MORE: Notre Dame can't find one last run against UNC

They'll be joined by a blue blood (North Carolina), a scrappy squad with no stars (Villanova) and the team with the tournament's best player in Buddy Hield (Oklahoma).

Though it's been hard to find many genuine surprises in this, a season full of unpredictable twists and turns, Syracuse making the Final Four would certainly fit that category. This was a program under duress, one that lost Boeheim for nine games early this season while he served punishment for NCAA violations.

SEE MORE: Buy tickets to the Final Four!

This was a program that gave St. John's one of its eight wins this season; a program that dropped five of six heading into Selection Sunday. Hardly any bracketologist had the Orange making it into the field of 68. The NCAA selection committee didn't agree. And shortly after Syracuse beat Dayton 70-51 in the first round, Boeheim was at his cranky best, saying, anybody "that said we didn't deserve to be in obviously doesn't know anything about basketball."

SEE MORE: Final Four predictions

Syracuse trailed Virginia by as many as 16 before Boeheim switched out of his trademark 2-3 zone and into a full-court press. That helped the Orange outscore the Cavaliers 29-8 down the stretch to win 68-62.

"We had a lot of doubters," freshman Tyler Lydon said. "A lot of people who believed we shouldn't even be in this tournament. I'm sure there are still a lot of people who think that. But we know what we can do as a team and that's all that matters."

Syracuse plays Saturday's late game against the Tar Heels, who beat Notre Dame 88-74. It's a matchup of ACC teams; North Carolina has beaten Syracuse twice this season.

The first semifinal pits Oklahoma against Villanova. Oklahoma won a meeting in December, 78-55.

A quick look at the teams and their roads to the Final Four:

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OKLAHOMA

The Coach: Lifer Lon Kruger is back in the Final Four for the first time since he took Florida in 1994.

The Star: That would be Hield - aka "Buddy Buckets" - who averages 25.4 points a game and cracked 35 twice in the four tournament games.

The Story: The Sooners were ranked No. 1 in February before losing three of four. Another loss, in January, was a triple-overtime setback to Kansas in the best college basketball game of the year.

---

VILLANOVA

The Coach: Jay Wright, who led a turnaround at Hofstra before getting the Villanova job in 2001. He has taken the Wildcats to the tournament 11 of the last 12 seasons.

The Star: The stat sheet says there isn't one. But let's go with senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, a 12-point-per-game scorer who celebrated his 22nd birthday by making four clutch free throws to seal Saturday's win over Kansas.

The Story: Seeded 1 or 2 the two years before this, the Wildcats didn't make it out of the first weekend either season. Now, they're back at the Final Four for the first time since 2009.

---

SYRACUSE

The Coach: Jim Boeheim, in his fifth Final Four. Served a nine-game suspension for NCAA violations.

The Star: Michael Gbinije leads the team at 17.6 points a game. But the star, really, is that ultra-nuanced 2-3 zone that Boeheim wins with in an era in which most sought-after recruits have zero interest in those kind of details.

The Story: So many to choose from, most centered around this team's ability to get to the Final Four when nobody gave it a chance.

---

NORTH CAROLINA

The Coach: Roy Williams, now taking the Tar Heels to the Final Four for the fourth time, to match the number of times he reached it with Kansas.

The Star: Brice Johnson, averaging nearly 17 points and 10 1/2 rebounds.

The Story: Only No. 1 seed to make the Final Four. The program is in its record 19th Final Four, but first since 2009. No surprise considering the Tar Heels won the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, and that conference had four teams in the Elite Eight.

THE BEST OF MARCH MADNESS:

19 PHOTOS
Best men's March Madness photos 2016
See Gallery
TIPPING OFF: Yes, it's Syracuse (and OU, 'Nova and Heels)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Brice Johnson #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels defends a shot by Tyler Roberson #21 of the Syracuse Orange in the first half during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Chris Steppig - Pool/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Buddy Hield #24 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Brice Johnson #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Marcus Paige #5 celebrate defeating the Syracuse Orange 83-66 as Tyler Roberson #21 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 27: Malachi Richardson #23 of the Syracuse Orange falls off of the court in the second half against the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional Final at United Center on March 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 64-59 during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26: Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks falls as he drives between Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats and Kris Jenkins #2 in the second half during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25: Marcus Paige #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a basket in the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Wells Fargo Center on March 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils goes up for a shot against Jordan Bell #1 of the Oregon Ducks in the second half in the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at the Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17: Ben Bentil #0 of the Providence Friars dunks the ball in the first half over Elijah Stewart #30 of the USC Trojans during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17: Kennedy Meeks #3 of the North Carolina Tar Heels rebounds against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basbetball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17: Zach Johnson #5 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles dives to shoot the ball in the first half against Isaiah Hicks #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 17: Roger Woods #0 of the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans and P.J. Thompson #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers fight for a ball during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Pepsi Center on March 17, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17: Taurean Prince #21 of the Baylor Bears dunks the ball in the first half against the Yale Bulldogs during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 20: DeAndre Bembry #43 of the Saint Joseph's Hawks goes up with a reverse dunk against hte Oregon Ducks in the first half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 20, 2016 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: Adam Woodbury #34 of the Iowa Hawkeyes goes up against Phil Booth #5 of the Villanova Wildcats in the second half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 18: Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins puts up a shot against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 18, 2016 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MARCH 17: Derek Willis #35 and Skal Labissiere #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats reject a shot by Rayshaun McGrew #11 of the Stony Brook Seawolves in the first half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 17, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 18: Isaiah Taylor #1 of the Texas Longhorns reacts after Paul Jesperson #4 of the Northern Iowa Panthers hit a half court three pointer to win the game with a score of 75 to 72 during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 18, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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