On Thursday night, the Southeast and West Regional Finals were set for Saturday afternoon and evening. In New Orleans, second seeded Florida will meet No. 8 Butler, last year's national runner-up, for the right to advance to Houston. Over in Anaheim, surprising five seed Arizona plays No. 3 Connecticut for a spot.
The final half of the Elite Eight will be determined this evening as the East and Southwest Regions take center stage. Information on these games is after the jump.
East Region at Newark
Announcers: Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg
|No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels
|7:15 p.m. ET
|No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 1 Ohio St. Buckeyes
|approx. 9:45 p.m. ET
Marquette will look for its third consecutive upset win in game one in Newark, though North Carolina will be a slightly tougher test than cold-shooting Xavier or a Syracuse team that the Golden Eagles knew exactly how to attack. The Tar Heels have a size advantage in this one that they'd be foolish to overlook, and that alone should be the difference. As for game two, you'd think the Buckeyes and Wildcats would play more frequently, especially given the proximity of Lexington to the Cincinnati area. However, they don't, so this is a rare opportunity for these regional powers to get together. On the court, Ohio State's mix of young and veteran, inside and outside, should be a bit too much for the Wildcats, a young team that's still difficult to peg down, to handle.
My Picks: Look for the top two teams in this region to meet up in Sunday's final.
Southwest Region at San Antonio
Announcers: Marv Albert/Steve Kerr
|No. 12 Richmond Spiders vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks
|7:27 p.m. ET
|No. 11 VCU Rams vs. No. 10 Florida St. Seminoles
|approx. 9:57 p.m. ET
As long as Kansas isn't overconfident (like against UNI last year), they should have little trouble with Richmond, based on talent and depth alone. However, if Justin Harper and Dan Geriot can cause some trouble inside, the Jayhawks will find themselves in real trouble, especially given Kevin Anderson's ability to create and hit key shots. I've discussed game two in a bit more detail in my post recapping Samsung's fan poll for the week. I expect VCU's magic to continue for at least one more game.
My Picks: Kansas will face its second straight Richmond-based team Sunday with a spot in the Final Four on the line.