After two weeks of crazy finishes, upset bids and way to much Gus Johnson for anyone to ..."/> After two weeks of crazy finishes, upset bids and way to much Gus Johnson for anyone to ..."/>

NCAA Elite Eight: Saturday Preview


After two weeks of crazy finishes, upset bids and way to much Gus Johnson for anyone to handle, the NCAA tournament is down to eight teams.

You have Butler, last year’s runner up, who are looking to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. Going against Florida, who have NBA ready talent and are looking to add a third National Title in less than ten years with Chandler Parsons, Erving Walker, and Alex Tyus leading the way.

Then you have Arizona and sophmore stud Derrick Williams, fresh off their dismantling of Duke going against Big East Tournament champs Uconn and their own likely lottery pick in Kemba Walker.

And that’s just Saturday, and if you are a NBA only type of guy don’t worry I got the quick scoop on today’s games so you can keep up.

#8 Butler Vs. #2 Florida

“The Gonzaga of the Mid-West” in Butler goes up against SEC powerhouse Florida in the early game today. Butler are one of the true surprises of the tournament, as they were five seconds and a Matt Howard put back away from losing to Old Dominion in the first round, then they needed a weird foul off of a free throw to escape against Pittsburgh.

But now they are here, and they face a Florida team that has had a fairly easy road to the Elite Eight, with BYU being the only roadblock along the way. The question is can Butler keep their momentum along the way, or will they fall to the wayside like Richmond and Marquette after experience their first setback of the game?

If Butler can withstand the Gators first run, the Bulldogs have a great shot of returning to the Final Four, if not this game may get ugly early.

Players To Watch:

Butler: Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard are two players from last years National Championship Game team that have serious NBA potential. Howard brings a physical rebounding prescence to their team and is their leader/spark plug. Mack is a great shooter and when he gets hot Butler seems to have a uncanny knack for doing the unthinkable.

Florida: SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons and Erving Walker are definitely the leaders of this team, but role players like Tyus, and Boynton are serious players as well. With this balanced rotation it is hard to pick one player to have a big game, but like in their championship runs they will have a unit of five players who can go off at any given point of a game.

Prediction: Florida edges off a close game over the Bulldogs, who like last year, just can’t finish in the last five minutes.

#5 Arizona Vs #3 UConn

Williams Vs. Walker. Of all the one on one matchups you could have presented to me at the start of the tournament, this and maybe Kemba Vs. Jimmer got me the most interested.

You have contrasting styles and positions as Williams is obviously the bigger and more athletic player, but he his a 50% shooter from 3pt range and lit it up in the first half against Duke, Williams has made his draft stock rise in the last week and this game could make him the consensus number one pick if he can lead Arizona to another victory.

Then you have Kemba Walker, the star of the Big East tournament has continued his hot streak into the NCAA’s and has UConn on an impressive win streak. He will have to deal with an athletic Wildcats squad that gave Nolan Smith fits, but just like with Williams, he can garner even more hype with a great performance and a win.

Keys to the Game

Role Players: With Williams and Walker obviously drawing most of the attention this game likely will come down to which superstar gets the most support. Arizona has already proved that they have a group of athletic players who can fill the bucket, while UConn’s supporting cast has been good, but does not look great.

Transition: Arizona killed Duke in the transition game, mainly off of turnovers and long rebounds. UConn likes to shoot from outside and that may play right into Arizona’s hands. If UConn can get back in transition and limit turnovers, they will take a huge part out of the athletic, fast game that Arizona likes to play.

Prediction: In a toss-up game, Arizona wins off of a fast paced and balanced attack that the Huskies simply cannot solve.