The Arizona Wildcats will take on the Wisconsin Badgers in the Elite Eight on Saturday night in what promises to be a marquee game. This is the only Elite Eight match between a one seed and a two seed this tournament.
The Arizona Wildcats who have spent much of the season in the upper-portion of the rankings and look poised to make it to their first Final Four under head coach Sean Miller. Arizona was able to sneak past a talented San Diego State team 70-64.
The Wildcats were led by junior guard Nick Johnson and sensational freshman Aaron Gordon who each contributed 15 points and had eight and six rebounds respectively.
Wisconsin crushed Baylor on Thursday night 69-52. Wisconsin never trailed all game and cruised to the easy victory. However their match with first seeded Arizona should prove to be much more challenging.
Wisconsin was led by Frank Kaminsky who recorded 19 points in the victory. Ben Brust and Nigel Hayes also scored in double digits for the Badgers. They are in search of their first Final Four appearance in the Bo Ryan era, in the previous 12 season under Ryan, the Badgers have made it to the tournament each year and the Elite Eight once.
How they got here:
Arizona was upset in the Pac 12 conference championship game by UCLA. Prior to that Arizona finished with the best record in the Pac 12 and look quite impressive all season while doing so. In addition to the aforementioned Johnson and Gordon, freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and transfer TJ McConnell have been nice additions to an already powerful Wildcats basketball team.
In the NCAA tournament, Arizona defeated Weber State, Gonzaga and San Diego State. They have eased past most of their opponents and view Wisconsin as just another hurdle before the Final Four.
Wisconsin had a fairly successful season but lost in the Big 10 conference semifinals to eventual conference champion Michigan State. Wisconsin finished second overall in the Big 10 regular season standings and has had a fairly successful season.
In the NCAA tournament, the Badgers have defeated American, Oregon and Baylor. In doing so, they have had minimal challenges. Bo Ryan has his Badgers playing some of their best basketball of the season.
What will happen:
Arizona is poised to make it to the Final Four and it does not look like Wisconsin will have enough to stop them. While Wisconsin does possess some interesting matchups, I think that Arizona will defeat the Badgers. Sean Miller is overdue for a Final Four appearance with the Wildcats and I really do not see a scenario that allows this Wisconsin basketball team to stop them. Although, if there was any team in the West region that I can see upsetting Arizona it would be Wisconsin.
This will be a phenomenal matchup that should present must-see Television.
The game will air on TBS on Saturday night at 8:49 pm.