The Elite Eight is about to begin, and it projects to be one of the best rounds of the 2014 NCAA tournament. After the dust settles from this weekend frenzy of college hoops action, the much-anticipated Final Four field will finally be set.
You won't want to miss a single minute of any of these four incredible Elite Eight showdowns, and fortunately, you won’t have to. With television, live stream and other options at your disposal, it is easy to track the results of these games as they happen.
Bleacher Report makes it easy to follow along live with its interactive bracket, which updates in real time and immediately posts the final scores at the conclusion of each matchup. Bookmark it now and refer back to it during the games, so you can always be up-to-date on the action.
Keep reading for a closer look at the Day 1 schedule for the Elite Eight, plus viewing information, picks and more.
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Spread||Prediction|
|Sat, March 29||(11) Dayton vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS||NCAA.com||Florida -10||Florida|
|Sat, March 29||(2) Wisconsin vs. (1) Arizona||8:49 p.m.||TBS||NCAA.com||Arizona -3||Arizona|
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Elite Eight Day 1 Matchup to Watch: Wisconsin vs. Arizona
This is a classic No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle for a Final Four berth that should not disappoint anyone. These teams have both been excellent during March Madness, and neither one is looking ready to go home just yet.
The Badgers have been playing amazing basketball over their first three games, blowing out American in the opener by 40 points, storming back from a 12-point halftime deficit in a third-round matchup with Oregon and easily handling a red-hot Baylor squad in the Sweet 16.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has had his players ready for everything and appears to be on the brink of his first Final Four appearance since taking over in Madison back in 2001.
Per Dan Cohen of WREX-TV, the coach now has 703 victories and is in his first Elite Eight since 2005:
That's 703 wins for Bo Ryan, and his first Elite 8 since 2005 at Wisconsin. @BadgerMBB— Dan Cohen (@DanCohenWREX) March 28, 2014
Ben Brust, a senior guard who has been stellar during the Big Dance, told David Leon Moore of USA Today that he would be privileged to be a part of Ryan’s first regional victory: "That would be a very special thing to do. I'd be honored to be a part of that."
Arizona represents a major obstacle in that path and may just be the reason Wisconsin exits the tournament without a Final Four appearance for the 13th straight season.
KenPom.com ranks the Wildcats as the No. 1 most efficient defense in the country, so it will be tough for the Badgers to put points on the board—even with the No. 4 most efficient offense in college basketball.
Arizona showed it could win even when its best players weren’t having a great shooting night. Nick Johnson, a junior guard, scored 15 points but went just 2-of-12 from the field against San Diego State in the Sweet 16.
Regardless, he found a way to get to the line and hit all 10 of his free throws in the 70-64 victory. Credit the stingy defense for locking in and keeping the Aztecs on their heels. It allowed the offense to get it together in the final minutes and make a run to finish off the opponent.
Which team will win?
If Arizona can pester the Wisconsin offense and stymie it into having an off-night shooting, it should not be difficult for the West’s top seed to advance to the Final Four.
It’s not a sure thing, but as the old adage goes, defense wins championships. It would be unwise to bet against that.