Elite 8 Schedule: Key Matchups That Will Determine Last 2 Final Four Berths

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats moves against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Iowa State 87-71.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The last two berths in the Final Four will be earned on Sunday with the Kentucky Wildcats, Baylor Bears, North Carolina Tar Heels and Kansas Jayhawks all trying to get to New Orleans.

Each game will have several important matchups that will have a profound impact on the outcome, whether it's a one-on-one battle or a statistical battle between the teams.

Let's look at the key matchup from each of the two Elite Eight games on Sunday.


Matchup Time (ET) TV
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 1 Kentucky  2:20 p.m. CBS
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 1 North Carolina  5:05 p.m. CBS


No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 1 North Carolina

Center battle: Jeff Withey vs. Tyler Zeller 

The matchup at center will be huge in this game because whichever team can dominate in the paint defensively will win.

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 18:  Sandi Marcius #55 of the Purdue Boilermakers attempts a shot in the firsthalf against Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 18, 2012
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Jeff Withey is so important to the Jayhawks because of all the rebounds he grabs and the shots he blocks. Against North Carolina State in the Sweet 16, Withey had 10 blocks and probably altered another four or five with his size and length.

Against a Tar Heels team that has several quality players who can score inside, Withey has to play well or Kansas will struggle. Withey picking up some early fouls would really hurt the Jayhawks' chances of winning.

Zeller has to attack Withey on offense and be aggressive early to take the Kansas center out of the game.

Whoever wins this matchup at center will have put their team in a great position to advance to the Final Four.


No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 1 Kentucky

Power forward battle: Perry Jones III vs. Anthony Davis

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears celebrates in the first half against the Xavier Musketeers during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Pho
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

If you're looking for an awesome matchup that will have a huge impact on not only this game, but the NBA Draft as well, look no further than the power forward battle in the Kentucky versus Baylor game.

Bears star Perry Jones III is a potential lottery pick but has been inconsistent throughout the tournament, and has a massive chance to improve his draft stock against a top opponent in an important game.

For Davis, whom many believe will be the top pick in June's draft, he has a chance to solidify his status as the top prospect with a huge game against Jones.

Both players are very important to their team's offensive success, and are counted on to dominate in the paint and grab rebounds.

The Wildcats scored 102 points against a quality Indiana team in the Sweet 16, and are capable of scoring 90-plus against Baylor too.

Jones must contain Davis and limit his effectiveness at the offensive end of the floor or the Bears have no chance to advance to the Final Four.