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Elite Eight Predictions

South Region: 1 Florida vs. 11 Dayton
Shabazz Napier, UConn
The Cinderella of the tournament so far, the Dayton Flyers have taken down two college basketball powers in Ohio State and Syracuse and played very well against Stanford. Now, they get a huge task with the No. 1 overall seed, Florida, who hasn't lost since December 2nd and enters the game as a 10-point favorite. The Gators will rely heavily on the three-point shooting ability of sophomore guard Michael Frazier and senior swingman Casey Prather, who has a 61% field goal percentage. Florida is so dangerous on offense because they have four different players that average double-digit point totals in Prather, Frazier, Patric Young and senior Scottie Wilbekin. Archie Miller's Dayton squad has beat teams with up-tempo play and Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert has been fantastic this tourney. Sibert had 18 against Stanford and has been a threat from deep all season long for the Flyers. Along with senior wing Devin Oliver (11.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG) Dayton has the offensive explosiveness to hang with the Gators. Florida has a stingy defense that has proven they can shut down some of the nation's best offenses and they definitely will need a great showing to tame the three-point shooters the Flyers will bring to the table. If Sibert and the rest of Dayton's offense gets hot they could definitely give Florida their first loss in nearly 5 months.
Florida, 78 Dayton, 73

West Region: 1 Arizona vs. 2 Wisconsin
In a tournament that has had it's fair share of upsets it is strange to see a 1 seed meet a 2 seed in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats may get their stiffest test they have gotten all year with Wisconsin, who has been dominant in all three of their tournament games, blowing out American, Oregon and then Baylor. They have counted on big man Frank Kaminsky all year and sophomore forward Sam Dekker, their two most consistent scoring options. Bo Ryan's teams always play great defense and this team will as well as they hope to shut down an Arizona team that is great in transition. Guards Nick Johnson and T.J. McConnell lead the way, though the 'Cats have really missed forward Brandon Ashley, who is out for the year. Ashley was a stretch four who opened the court for big man Kaleb Tarczewski and they haven't really found a replacement for him. The Badgers are going to be a tough team to beat because they play smart and are much deeper than most teams. Arizona's bench is a real liability and could help grant Wisconsin their 3rd Final Four appearance and first under Bo Ryan.
Wisconsin, 66 Arizona, 60

East Region: 4 Michigan State vs. 7 UConn
Despite getting all they can handle from Virginia last night, the Spartans survived and will get a dangerous Huskies team who snuck past Iowa State. Senior guard Shabazz Napier has been great all year for the Huskies, leading the team in points, assists and rebounds. But, the real reason for UConn's success this postseason has been because they have found other players to step up, mainly junior forward DeAndre Daniels, who dropped 27 against the Cyclones and also had 10 rebounds. Along with guard Ryan Boatright, the Huskies have the supporting cast to take down Michigan State, who is still the tourney favorite. Senior center Adreian Payne can hurt defenses in so many ways; he is strong and athletic in the low post and his mid range and three-point shooting ability adds another layer to his game. Along with Payne, a healthy Branden Dawson (24 points, 10 boards against Virginia) is a dangerous thing and sophomore Gary Harris' shooting will be much needed if UConn gets hot. The Huskies are an awfully dangerous team but Michigan State is just too good right now to lose to UConn.
Michigan State, 80 UConn, 70

Midwest Region: 2 Michigan vs. 8 Kentucky
After handing Wichita it's first loss of the year and then taking down Louisville, their intense in-state rival and reigning champs, Kentucky hopes to take down Michigan, who escaped dangerous Tennessee. The Wildcats are peaking at the right time and have made a run behind the play of fabulous forward Julius Randle and streaky shooter James Young. The Harrison twins, who have had their fair share of rough moments, are starting to find their groove and are running the Wildcats' offense well. The Wolverines, meanwhile, have one of the nation's most dangerous players in sophomore Nik Stauskas who can wreck teams when he gets the hot hand. Both teams are missing important big men, Mitch McGary for Michigan and Willie Cauley-Stein for Kentucky. That likely means this could be a three-point shootout and it is extremely difficult to try to outdo the Wolverines from downtown. Kentucky is peaking at the right time but their run will come to an end if they can't stop Stauskas and somebody else steps up for Michigan, like Caris LaVert or Glenn Robinson.
Michigan, 76 Kentucky, 68

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