Eight teams come in and four advance to the Final Four next weekend in Indianapolis. Who’s going on and who’s going home? Here are my thoughts on the first two games of the round.
West Region: (1) Wisconsin vs. (2) Arizona, TBS: Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and the Badgers narrowly escaped a scrappy North Carolina team, while Arizona put together a big second half to advance past Xavier. A rematch of last season’s Elite Eight game that went down to the wire. Both two teams are great and some would even say that with the current status of the tournament field right now, both deserve to be in the Final Four. However, only one team can make it, and I think that team will be the Wildcats.
In my opinion, Wisconsin has yet to put together an impressive 40 minutes of basketball in this tournament. Even though it’s one game at a time, you’d like some momentum going into the next matchup, and they don’t have any at the moment. That’s not going to fly against a really talented Arizona team. Wisconsin can win this game, just like they did last season, but it’s going to take a style of play that I have yet to see from them. And until I see it for myself, I will be a doubter.
Midwest Region: (1) Kentucky vs. (3) Notre Dame, TBS: Kentucky essentially got a bye into this round with their obliteration of West Virginia, while the Fighting Irish used a great offensive effort to hold off Wichita State. Now 37-0, the Wildcats are about to endure three straight games where they will have to play at a level that has not been required of them often this season. Notre Dame finally got the ball rolling after their win against the Shockers and you better believe that will be a factor tonight.
Jerian Grant is great, but Notre Dame will have to play out of their minds to defeat what may just be one of the best college basketball teams of all-time. My current philosophical standpoint on the Wildcats is that I have to see them lose before I predict them to lose. Since that has yet to occur this season, I have them winning this game and moving on to face Arizona, although they will face tests in this game that they have not had to deal with in a long time.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Matt Weingarten