by Eric Shor
Florida Gators-Connecticut Huskies
These teams both enter this game with loads of experience. UConn, a 7-seed, comes in as one of only two teams to have beaten number 1 overall seed Florida this year. UConn guard Shabazz Napier, recently named a first team All-American, is a deadly shooter and can create space.
However, Florida has matchup problems all over the place; UConn’s frontcourt is rather undersized, and 6’9” mammoth Patric Young and 6’7 Will Yeguete for Florida could pose a serious problem on the boards.
UF small forward Casey Prather, who is a Wooden Award and Finalist, leads the team in scoring with his ability to finish at the rim. With such a balanced scoring attack—led by point guard Scottie Wilbekin and 3-point specialist Michael Frazier—it’s hard to limit all of them at once.
But UConn’s backcourt is arguably the best in the country. Napier and Ryan Boatright can both score at will and wreak havoc on the defensive end, this tandem have and can single-handedly win games.
In a tight game, free throws could be critical; UConn was 41-44 on free throws last weekend, going up against a UF team that shoots a meager 66.7 percent clip from the line.
This game featuring two collegiate powerhouses should be a thriller, but Florida’s height advantage and tenacious defense should prove too much for the overmatched Huskies.
Wisconsin Badgers-Kentucky Wildcats
When Wisconsin and Kentucky square off tomorrow, it will be arguably the season’s most polarizing matchup. For basketball purists and those who love to see rim-rocking plays, this game is going to have all that and more.
For the first time in his career, Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan has assembled the perfect mesh for his swing offense resulting in his first Final Four berth.
Not to be outdone, Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari has managed to keep the ship afloat after one of the rockiest seasons in Kentucky basketball history.
Wisconsin’s spacing could create open looks while Kentucky will try to exploit interior matchups. Anchored by Julius Randle, the Wildcats will seek to dominate the paint.
For all of Kentucky’s talent, Wisconsin will undoubtedly have the best player on the floor with 7’0” center Frank Kaminsky. Whether he scores from inside or outside, he will be an impact performer.
Although not as athletic, Wisconsin is more disciplined and a much better shooting team than the Wildcats. Expect Wisconsin to bury the Wildcats from deep while Kaminsky draws attention down low.
By controlling the tempo and playing soundly, the Badgers should wake up Sunday morning eager to play for a title.