Only four more games remain in the journey to the 2014 Final Four in North Texas.
With the conclusion of Friday's Sweet 16 action in Indianapolis and New York, the Elite Eight bracket is all set. By Sunday night, the eight-team field will be cut in half and the nets in each region will have been cut down.
Below, we'll preview Saturday's regional finals and break down the complete Elite Eight schedule for the upcoming weekend.
|2014 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Schedule|
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat, March 29||(11) Dayton vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Sat, March 29||(2) Wisconsin vs. (1) Arizona||8:49 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Sun, March 30||(7) Connecticut vs. (4) Michigan State||2:20 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Sun, March 30||(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Michigan||5:05 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Elite Eight Predictions|
|(1) Florida||Florida (-10.5)||(11) Dayton|
|(1) Arizona||Arizona (-3)||(2) Wisconsin|
|(4) Michigan State||TBD||(7) Connecticut|
|(8) Kentucky||TBD||(2) Michigan|
South Regional Final: No. 1 Florida (-10.5) vs. No. 11 Dayton
The last Cinderella standing, 11th-seeded Dayton will look to keep its magical run alive on Saturday in Memphis, Tenn., where the Flyers will take on the overall tournament top seed Florida, who are currently in the midst of a 29-game winning streak.
Unsurprisingly, Billy Donovan's Gators will be heavy favorites to win and advance to the Final Four. After all, Florida is one of the nation's top defensive teams and boasts unrivaled experience with four seniors leading the way and the team having reached the Elite Eight in each of the past four years.
None of those seniors are hungrier for a championship than floor general Scottie Wilbekin, who teammates have dubbed "Scottie McBuckets" as a result of his clutch play, according to defensive stalwart Patric Young per the Associated Press' David Brandt via ABC News:
"Scottie McBuckets, if you want to call him that. He's been performing as the go-to guy. He's making the shots when they're available and we know we can trust him and that he's going to make it happen."
While Archie Miller's Flyers have embraced the underdog role in wins over Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford, they've yet to face a team capable of clamping down defensively quite like Florida.
Although UCLA scored 68 points on Thursday, the Gators held the Bruins to just 42.2 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. In the opening rounds, neither Albany nor Pittsburgh shot better than 40 percent from the field against Florida.
Look for that trend to continue on Saturday in Memphis.
Led by Jordan Sibert and Devin Oliver, the Flyers have tremendous momentum on their side and are playing with immense belief. However, they're set to go up against a far more talented team in Florida.
On top of that, the Gators have felt the agony of defeat at this stage far too often and are sure to come out fast and furious in an effort to finally get over the hump.
Prediction: No. 1 Florida 74, Dayton 65
West Regional Final: No. 1 Arizona (-3) vs. No. 2 Wisconsin
In Saturday's second Elite Eight clash, the West Region's top-seeded Arizona Wildcats will take aim at their first Final Four berth since 2001 by beating second-seeded Wisconsin.
The Pac-12 powerhouse has now reached this stage four times since its run to the title game in 2001, but has come up short on each of the three previous occasions, losing to Connecticut most recently in 2011.
But Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers are in a similar boat, having failed to reach the Final Four since 2000 and making their second Elite Eight appearance since that memorable run 14 years ago. The two teams' similar tournament history and overall success in 2013-14 has made this game a tough one to predict.
WildcatAuthority.com's senior editor Jason Scheer highlights why Wisconsin could potentially be a good matchup for Arizona:
Offensively, Wisconsin is excellent at sharing the ball and moving it around in the half court. The Badgers tore apart Baylor's zone on Thursday and will likely give Arizona problems as well if the Wildcats abandon man-to-man and fall back into a 2-3 zone.
A key for the Badgers on both ends of the floor will be junior center Frank Kaminsky, who will have a big-time say in whether Wisconsin marches on, according to ESPN.com's C.L. Brown:
Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky absolutely dominated his matchup with the Baylor frontcourt. He made 8 of his first 10 shots in the paint alone en route to a game-high 19 points. He also made the going tough for the Bears in the paint with two blocked shots denying Royce O'Neale and Isaiah Austin at the rim.
But assuming both teams play up to their potential and Arizona is able to dictate the tempo with its defense as it's done all year, you can expect an ultra-competitive game in Anaheim.
And with the Wildcats boasting the nation's sixth-best scoring defense this season (58.4 points per game allowed), watch for Arizona to disrupt Wisconsin's offensive rhythm when it matters most and hang on for a monumental victory.
Prediction: Arizona 62, Wisconsin 57
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