Saturday's Elite Eight action kicks off with two top-ranked teams and a traditional powerhouse battling a Cinderella. Things have tightened up recently, and there is sure to be another round of close games. Check out Saturday's matchups in the NCAA Tournament.
No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 2 Wisconsin: Aaron Gordon, Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson vs. Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes.
The only region featuring a 1 vs. 2 matchup will not be a game of chalk, but of glass. The Wildcats have a team of talented, athletic big men who like to crash the boards and create second-chance opportunities. Arizona is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NCAA, whereas Wisconsin is ranked near the bottom.
The Wildcats have some of the best rebounding bigs in the tournament, including Aaron Gordon and 7-foot sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski. How the fight between Tarczewski and Badgers center Frank Kaminsky plays out will pull rebounding duties for the rest of the Wisconsin players on a string.
It will be up to Badgers forwards Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes to try to keep the rest of the Arizona bigs off the boards with Kaminsky occupied. Wisconsin has made up for its inability on the offensive glass by making the most of its three-point opportunities and passing the ball incredibly well. If Arizona can stop the Badgers from moving the ball and dominate the offensive boards, the Wildcats could come away from Saturday's game with a win.
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 11 Dayton: Gators' perimeter defense vs. Flyers' outside shooting
The battle between the No. 1 overall seed in the Tournament and everyone's favorite Cinderella pits strength against strength. Florida has a crew of experienced grinders on the perimeter, while Dayton's Jordan Sibert can swing a game with his ability to hit long-range jump shots. Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin won SEC Player of the Year for his ability to play at both ends of the floor, which should pose a new challenge to the Flyers.
Sibert, a 6'4 junior transfer from Ohio State, is shooting a cool 43 percent from behind the arc this season. His 4-of-9 performance from deep gave Stanford's hapless guards fits in their Sweet 16 matchup. But Florida, led by Wilbekin, will be eager to chase Sibert and cohort Khari Price (39.7 percent) from the three-point line. Ohio State did this effectively with similar personnel, but couldn't get enough of an offensive spurt to top Dayton in the Round of 64.
KenPom has the Gators as the nation's second-best defense, just behind Arizona. However, their defense against long-range shots hovers toward the mediocre. Florida ranks 73rd in the country in three-point defense, allowing its opponents to shoot 32.5 percent on the season. While this isn't a true weakness, it may be just enough for Sibert and the Flyers to shoot their way into the Final Four.