Saturday's Elite Eight: Can Butler Make Its Way Home for the Final Four?
No. 2 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Butler
Butler is one game away from playing its first Final Four in its hometown. The Bulldogs, who were picked by many to lose in the first round to No. 12 seed UTEP, pulled off the improbable upset against No. 1 seed Syracuse.
Kansas State made its way to this point with wins over North Texas, BYU, and Xavier.
Butler has been outstanding since the start of December, with its only two losses coming to Georgetown and UAB. Everything has been clicking for Butler through the first three games—and everybody is stepping up when needed.
The Bulldogs' great defense on Syracuse shows that they can keep Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente from having huge games. If Butler limits these two guys, the Bulldogs will be on their way to the Final Four.
On top of the defense, Butler's passion for wanting to play in Indianapolis will get the Bulldogs past Kansas State.
Butler 71, Kansas State 69
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 2 West Virginia
Kentucky has dominated the tournament through the first three rounds with an average margin of victory in the first three games of 25.3 points.
West Virginia defeated red-hot Washington in the Sweet 16 to advance to the Elite Eight. The Mountaineers could have a slight advantage because of playing tougher competition to this point in the tournament.
Kentucky was able to score a lot in the first two rounds, but it struggled a little against Cornell and only scored 62 points. The Wildcats have not had to play a great defensive team like West Virginia yet. West Virginia's size could really disrupt Kentucky's guards—and possibly its big men, too.
The Mountaineers defense has been so sound and consistent in the last few months— especially during their current nine-game winning streak. West Virginia's defense will take the Mountaineers to their second Final Four appearance—and the first since Jerry West carried the team in 1959.
My hate for Kentucky makes me pick against them. Although there is bias in this preview, don't be surprised if there is a minor upset in the East Region.
West Virginia 65, Kentucky 62
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