The first day of the Elite Eight is here, and we're only a few hours away from learning half of the Final Four.
There are two clear favorites left—Florida and Arizona, who many have picked to play against each other in the championship game.
Wisconsin, a fine team in its own right, and Dayton, this year's lovable Cinderella, will be fighting to take down the favorites.
Both games should prove to be close and exciting, with all four teams putting everything on the line to win.
Which teams are going to win? We'll give you updated odds, scheduling info and bracket predictions for the first day of the 2014 Elite Eight.
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Will the clock strike midnight on Dayton?
Unfortunately for those who love the Disney classic, Dayton doesn't really have a chance against Florida.
Yes, Dayton has only lost twice since February 1st, and it has already knocked off big powers like Syracuse and Ohio State.
And it is certainly an impressive team, one that is very deep, as ESPN Stats and Info points out:
|No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 1 Florida||Saturday, March 29||6:09 p.m.||TBS||Florida|
|No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Arizona||Saturday, March 29||8:49 p.m.||TBS||Arizona|
Jeremy Fuchs's Pickcs
But Dayton has yet to face a team as athletic as Florida, a team that will wear you down with its full-court press. Scottie Wilbekin is one of the more underrated playmakers in the nation and is the engine for this team. As assistant coach Rashon Burno told Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated, "It's expected of Scottie to come out and make good plays. Our style of play keeps the ball in his hands. His ability to make big shots is uncanny right now."
Besides his ability to make plays, Wilbekin leads one of the better defenses in the nation. Florida was just the second team to hold UCLA to under 70 points since February 2nd, and it may be as deep as Dayton. Florida's bench produced a line of 23 points, 15 rebounds, 14 assists, three blocks and a steal. Players like Chris Walker, Casey Prather and Dorian Finney-Smith will be instrumental in keeping the team in the game.
Dayton certainly has had an impressive run, but Florida is too athletic and too solid defensively, and it has the same amount of depth Dayton does.
Dayton will keep it interesting, but Florida is good enough to win this one pretty easily.
Wisconsin vs. Arizona (-3)
Dayton's bench outscored Stanford's bench 34-2— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 28, 2014
Nick Johnson missed his first 10 shots from the floor. He finished 2-of-12 from the field on the game.
And yet, the Wildcats still beat San Diego State, fighting back when their best player wasn't playing well and they were out-rebounded by 10.
Who will win?
Wisconsin has a chance if it out-rebounds Arizona. The Badgers out-rebounded Baylor by six, and if they control possession, it will allow people like Frank Kaminsky to have a big game.
But Arizona showed such poise in its comeback win against San Diego State. Nick Johnson will not have as bad a day from the field, and the Badgers don't have anyone as athletic as Aaron Gordon.
And Arizona's defense is pretty good, much better than any defense Wisconsin has faced, as ESPN's Numbers Never Lie points out:
Wisconsin will struggle to get its shot off and certainly won't shoot 52 percent from the floor again, like it did against Baylor, a team that is ranked 113th in points allowed.
This game won't be as close as the odds project, and I think Arizona is going to win this really easily.