Last night’s Elite Eight games were pretty amazing. Syracuse/Marquette was a classic Big East, physical brawl that proved Cuse was the real deal. The Ohio State/Wichita State was one for the ages. I didn’t think the Shockers could pull off the upset, but they proved that they were the better team, at least for last night. However, when the Elite Eight schedule was released, I circled both of Sunday’s games as “must see” TV. Here’s how I see them playing out.
#4 Michigan vs. #3 Florida
Yes, the Gators were impressive on Friday when they stopped FGCU’s Cinderella run. However, Michigan’s comeback win against Kansas was the most impressive thing we’ve seen all tournament. Michigan was literally on the brink of going home, and then, the should be player of the year Trey Burke willed them to victory with big play after big play. This Michigan/Florida game is loaded with guard talent. Burke, Hardaway Jr., Boynton, Rosario, and Wilbekin are all NBA level guards. This game is going to come down to the bigs though. Mitch Mcgary has played unbelievably in Michigan’s last few games, and he will have to continue his play for the Wolverines to win. Florida’s big, Patric Young, is a beast down low. Whoever wins the Young/Mcgary matchup should be in prime position to advance to the Final Four.
Prediction: Michigan 74 Florida 70
#2 Duke vs. #1 Louisville
I made the case before the selection committee released the bracket that Duke deserved to be a #1 seed, and Friday’s win against Michigan State helped make my case even stronger. With Ryan Kelly in the lineup, Duke is a very, very good team. Louisville has yet to be really tested so far this tournament. Even though the Oregon games final score was relatively close (77-69), it never actually felt that close. This game against Duke poises a lot of interesting matchups. Seth Curry and Russ Smith should be an exciting matchup to watch, as both players have the green light and shoot at will. The biggest matchup in this game is between Gorgui Dieng and Mason Plumlee. These guys are irreplaceable to their respective teams. They are the enforcers in the paint, offensively and defensively, and when they are out of the game, Louisville and Duke aren’t the same.
Prediction: Louisville 68 Duke 65