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Wisconsin Takes on Arizona, Dayton Looks to Continue Run with Win over Florida

After Friday night’s upsets in the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament, you can’t help but ask what’s in store for Saturday’s games?

There’s still time for more surprises but Vegas gives the No. 1 seed 5/4 odds to become this year’s champion, followed by the No. 2 seed at 15/2 and a No.10 seed or higher (see Dayton) at 18/1.

But first, there’s Saturday’s two games and the first look includes the No. 1 Arizona (33-4) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (29-7) (8:49 p.m. ET) matchup with its numerous storylines.

Frank Kaminsky

Frank Kaminsky

First we have the team’s two coaches with Wisconsin’s veteran Bo Ryan, one of the best in college hoops, while Arizona’s Sean Miller is an up-and-comer, playing his way into the conversation after starting his coaching career as an assistant with the Badgers. While Arizona has made it to the regional three times since 1998, Wisconsin last made it to the Final Four in 2000 (pre-Ryan days).

This drought will end on Saturday night.

Look for the game to be a battle of defense vs. offense as the Wildcats’ defense is the country’s leader for adjusted efficiency per basketball guru Ken Pom while the Badgers are No. 4 nationally for adjusted offensive efficiency. They have the better long game statistically with its 38 percent average (about 2/3 of their scoring comes from these shots) vs. Arizona’s 36 percent while both teams have about a 73-point average; they only allow opponents to shoot 42 percent or less.

And then we have all the players.

In Thursday’s game, Arizona showed a glaring weakness in its front court as Kaleb Tarczewski was the sole player who could take this role; however, he got in foul trouble. Wisconsin, on the other hand, is a different story with versatile Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes. But Arizona does have Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who could pose a challenge to guard.

Ryan recently turned 69 and his players would like to keep winning for him. Arizona sat in the No. 1 spot for eight weeks with 21 straight wins but stumbled after that.

It’s tough to bet against Ryan, but Arizona gets the win on Saturday (-3, 130 o/u) and sits at 6/1 to win it all.

And then there’s the No. 1 Florida (35-2) vs. No.11 Cinderella Dayton (26-10) game (6:09 p.m. ET) .

For the Gators, this is business as usual with their fourth straight Elite Eight appearance under coach Billy Donovan but they’re seeking a 29-game win streak for school history. The team hasn’t been to the Final Four since winning the title in 2007 and they’d like this to be the year to return.

As for Dayton, they’ve already knocked off Ohio State and Syracuse on its path to this game. It’s easy to ask, why stop now? The team has a lot of depth, playing 12 players against Stanford on Thursday, and they’re confident.

Dayton guard Jordan Sibert said via the Associated Press of their previous wins,”It made us think we can play against anybody in the country. It’s just our nature to know we can go out there and compete for 40 minutes. At the end of the game, we’ll be right there to win it.”

This match up will bring Florida’s defense, which is No. 3 nationally for scoring as it gives up 57.8 points a game. In its last 10 games, 68-plus points per game hasn’t been allowed by the Gators but Dayton is also stingy as in its seven previous games, it only gave two opponents 70 or more points.

Scottie Wilbekin

Scottie Wilbekin

Their 3-pointers have also been a key to their success as they shoot 37.5 percent from this distance but the Gators have Scottie Wilbekin, their leading scorer who is clutch.

And finally the two coaches. Donovan is very experienced and successful in tournament play while Dayton’s Archie Miller,with less experience, could meet his brother Sean in the Final Four.

Maybe some day, but it won’t happen this year as Florida wins again (-10, 132.5 o/u).






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