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Florida Seeks SEC Title, Virginia Looks for End of 20-Year Drought

Championship Week has again not disappointed hoops fans and on Saturday, teams will continue making their cases for Big Dance appearances and higher seeds. Take a look at some of its games.

No.1 Florida vs. Tennessee (1:00 p.m. ET)

No. 1 Florida (30-2, 18-0) will take on Tennessee (21-11), entering the game with a No. 1 Big Dance tournament seed on the line and a school record 24-game win streak. On Friday, Florida defeated Missouri 72-49 after entering halftime tied at 29.

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan

This represents Florida’s SEC play as they won their last four games by a 21.5 point-average. Coach Billy Donovan is humble about his team’s season and said after Friday’s game, “I think when a team’s ranked No. 1 in the country, goes 18-0 in the SEC regular season and you have not laid eyes on us, you would sit there and say, ‘Geez, they must be blowing everybody out. No one must come close to these guys. But if you want to go through the scores of our games in the SEC, they have all been right there.

Tennessee needs a win to give them an at-large berth for the tournament. On Friday, they defeated South Carolina 59-44 and will enter Saturday’s game with a five-game win streak. In its last four games, Tennessee has won by a 27.0 point average, limiting opponents to 45.3 points.

In their two previous meetings this season,  the Gators won 67-41 (Jan. 25) and 67-58 on Feb. 11. It’s nothing new for them to go deep in the SEC tournament as they’ve been in the last two of three finals. For Tennessee, it’s been longer: 2009.

Florida gets the win on Saturday (-6.5, 124 o/u).

Pittsburgh vs. No. 6 Virginia (1:00 p.m. ET)

Tip off is at the same time as the Florida game but this one may be more interesting.

For No. 6 Virginia (26-6, 16-2), they haven’t made it to the ACC tournament finals since 1994 and for Pittsburgh (25-8, 11-7), this will be its first year to even play in the ACC tournament.

Virginia has landed in the game after defeating Florida State 64-51 on Friday. The win came without the usual 3-point magic (second in the ACC) as they only hit 6 of 20 (30 percent) but found success from inside the arc (17 of 28 attempts).

Lamar Patterson

Lamar Patterson

Pittsburgh, on a three-game win streak, defeated Wake Forest 84-55 in Thursday’s second round and then on Friday, upset No. 15 North Carolina (23-9, 13-5) 80-75, punching their ticket to the Big Dance. Their play included 51.9 percent shooting from the field and 51.2 percent in free throws.

Look for Saturday’s game to be a battle of Virginia’s defense versus Pitt’s offense. In their current win streak, the Panthers have an 82.3 point average and will be challenged by Virginia’s defense, who only give up 55.3 points per game.

These two teams previously met on Feb. 2. Virginia won 48-45 thanks to a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left. They held Pitt to 31.9 points–their second-lowest shooting in a game for the season–and its fewest amount of points.

On Saturday, Virginia gets another win (-3, 120 o/u).

Other Saturday games…

1:40 PM No. 24 Ohio State vs No. 8 Michigan (-3, 128 o/u): Always a great rivalry but is Michigan vulnerable?

3:00 PM North Carolina State vs No.7 Duke: NC State is brimming with confidence but is playing for a third-straight day.

4:00 PM George Washington vs No. 23 Virginia Commonwealth: Will VCU final get a title win?

4:05 PM No. 22 Michigan State vs No. 12 Wisconsin:  Wisconsin is the hot team in this matchup.

6:00 PM UCLA vs No. 4 Arizona: Is Arizona a Final Four team?

6:00 PM No. 20 New Mexico vs No. 8 San Diego State : New Mexico is looking for revenge.

No. 5 Louisville (28-5, 15-3) vs. No. 21 UConn (26-7, 12-6): A fourth straight year for Louisville to be on the title hunt.

8:30 PM Providence vs (14) Creighton: A must-win game for Providence

9:00 PM Baylor vs (16) Iowa State:  A win would be Iowa State’s first title in 14 years.

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