The Elite 8 is here and today two teams will punch their ticket to Indianapolis for the Final Four. There are two great games today that will not disappoint. The match up of the day is a rematch of last year’s Elite 8 game, Arizona vs Wisconsin. Last year Wisconsin defeated the Wildcats in an all time classic.
Keys for Wisconsin:
The Badgers are one game away from a potential rematch with Kentucky in the Final Four, but they have to get through a hungry Arizona team with a huge chip on their shoulder. They key for Wisconsin is controlling the tempo. If the Badgers are able to establish their tempo I really believe that they will control this game. If they are not able to, it could be a very long day for cheese heads. As we have seen in Wisconsin’s last two games they were not able to run with the speed and athleticism of Oregon and North Carolina. Arizona is 100 times more athletic than UNC and the Fighting Ducks combined. Wisconsin is a great and disciplined team, but they lack speed and athleticism. Arizona may be too much for Frank the Tank and his Badgers.
Keys for Arizona:
When I created my bracket, I picked Arizona to win it all and so far it is looking great. The Wildcats are just so big and athletic. I watched them dismantle Oregon in the Pac 12 championship game. That was the same Oregon team that Wisconsin squeaked by in the round of 32. The key for the Wildcats is freshman phnom, Stanley Johnson. Johnson undoubtedly will be a top 5 pick in next year’s NBA draft and he will be matched up with Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes. Hayes is a great player, but I believe this is a big mismatch because Johnson will easily take him off the dribble. Stanley Johnson must have an enormous game if Arizona wants to strike revenge and make the Final Four.
Prediction: Arizona 67 Wisconsin 63
I am staying true to my bracket, Arizona will over power Wisconsin and taste how sweet revenge really is.
Other Prediction: Kentucky 77 Notre Dame 69
Todays match up of the day is the number one seeded Florida Gators v the number eleven seeded Dayton Flyers. It’s the Powerhouse vs the Cinderella, Florida vs Dayton.
1 Florida’s Keys:
The Florida Gators are the best team in the country and they have been dominating every team they have played in the tournament. The key to a Gators Victory is their transition defense. The Bruins exposed the Gators weak transition D in their last game vs UCLA. The Flyers really know how to run a fast break so Florida’s guards have to play well on defense to contain the Flyer’s dynamic duo Jordan Sibert on Dyshawn Pierre. Patric Young has to take advantage of his size and be a bully in the paint. The Gators are heavily favored and if they lose they will always be known as the team who didn’t get to the Final Four.
The Dayton Flyers have tried on the glass slipper and found out that it fits. The Flyers are the biggest story in this tournament and they have been playing sensational basketball. They need to control the tempo and speed the game up into full court run and gun basketball. PG Jordan Sibert has to have a huge impact for the Flyers and he has to contain All-American guard Scottie Wilbekin if they want a chance to advance to the Final Four.
I believe that the Gators Elite Eight loosing streak will continue and the Dayton Flyers will hop on that magical carriage for a trip to the final four. Dayton 64 Florida 62
Other prediction for today: Arizona 76 Wisconsin 69
The Sweet Sixteen is finally here and now the Tournament really gets interesting. The contenders get separated from the pretenders and champions are born. Thursday’s Match Up of the Day is the Arizona Wildcats vs the Ohio State Buckeyes. This game is on TBS at 7:41 ET. I chose this game because both of these teams have been near the top of the rankings all year and they are complete powerhouses. I choose this game because both teams are practically a mirror image of each other. This going to be a hard fought game of two very similar teams. One of the reasons I think they’re so similar is because Sean Miller, “the coach of Arizona” was Thad Matta’s, “ the coach of Ohio State” assistant when Matta coached at Xavier.
Ohio State’s Keys: The key for Ohio State is Aaron Craft. We all know he is one of the premier on ball defenders in the league but he also needs to score some buckets. Deshaun Thomas is going to score to rack up the points every night, but they need someone to help carry the load for him. Aaron Craft is the most talented player on their team who can do that. Also Deshaun Thomas, who is not known as a defensive star has to contain Solomon Hill, who is Arizona’s 6-foot-7 forward with long lengthy arms. Thomas is primarily known as a scorer. I don’t think he is going to do a good job guarding Hill. Look for Solomon Hill to have a big game. If the Buckeyes want to have a win, Craft and Thomas have to swap roles.
Arizona’s Keys: The key for the Wildcats is transfer point guard from Xavier Mark Lyons. This game is truly the match up of the point guards, Ohio State’s Craft vs Arizona’s Lyons. Lyons has to score against Craft which is almost impossible, ask the best player in the Country Trey Burke, even he had a tough time against Craft’s stellar defense. Also Solomon Hill has to stop Deshaun Thomas from scoring the ball. Hill is a pretty good defender but even the best defenders struggle stopping Thomas. If the Wildcats want to come out on top they need Lyons to have a big game and Hill to lock down Thomas.
Prediction: This game is going to be an up and down low scoring affair. At the end of the day it comes down to defense, and I think Craft gets it done for the Bucks. Defense wins championships and Ohio State has one of the best defenders. I have the Buckeyes escaping the Wildcats and moving on to the Elite Eight where they will cruise.