The Elite Eight has arrived with spots in the Final Four up for grabs. Here is what’s on tap for Saturday…
4:30 p.m. – East Regional Final – No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 4 Syracuse – Washington
Broadcast team: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery and Rachel Nichols
The two teams that eliminated the top-two seeds in the East Region square off in the Regional Final for the right to play in the Final Four. Syracuse has been the more impressive team through three games, and their 2-3 zone has proven to be disastrous for the opposing offence. Marquette proved they belong by handily beating a Miami team that many believed could win the entire tournament, but the Golden Eagles’ offence does not stack up to Indiana’s, and the Hoosiers were absolutely shut down by that aforementioned Syracuse defence. This game will also feature an exciting matchup of two of the best players in the tournament so far, as Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams goes up against Marquette’s Vander Blue. For what it’s worth, Marquette beat Syracuse, 74-71, in late February.
My Pick: Syracuse
7:05 p.m. – West Regional Final – No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Wichita State – Los Angeles
Broadcast team: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Len Elmore and Lewis Johnson
Throw the seeds out the window in the West Final. Since beating Iona by 25 in their opening game of the tournament, Ohio State just hasn’t looked sharp and needed last second three-pointers to slip by No. 10 Iowa State and No. 6 Arizona. Wichita State, on the other hand, has played as well as just about anybody not named Louisville so far in this tourney. The West’s No. 9 seed dominated a very good Pittsburgh team to open the tournament, pulled away from No. 1 Gonzaga in the Round of 32, then cruised past a Cinderella upstart (La Salle) in the Sweet Sixteen. The Buckeyes may be the stronger side on paper, but in a region that has lived up to the billing of the “Wild West,” I’ll take the Shockers to live up to their name.
My Pick: Wichita State