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NCAA Tournament Open Thread: Regional Final Saturday

Seven games are left this season, and two today and two tomorrow will determine who will meet in the final four-team tournament of the season in Houston.

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Southeast Region Final
at New Orleans, LA

No. 8 Butler Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Florida Gators
CBS, 4:30 p.m. ET
Announcers: Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, and Reggie Miller

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My Pick: Come on now...you know that despite my love and respect for the mid-majors, I have to go with the alma mater here. However, this is more wishful thinking than anything else. Butler's guards and forwards will provide a serious test for Florida because of their physicality. You'll want to particularly keep in mind that Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored have a size advantage on Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. Plus, two Bulldogs, Shawn Vanzant (Tampa) and Khyle Marshall (Davie), have Sunshine State roots. Butler's 6-11 sophomore center, Andrew Smith, should play some, despite suffering a lower body injury (appeared to be a knee, but the school said it was an ankle) against Wisconsin. The key things for the Gators will be to get Matt Howard in foul trouble, something he's done a better job of preventing this year, control the perimeter, and keep the Dawgs off the free throw line (while converting their own opportunity). If Florida plays as stupidly as they did at points on Thursday, they'll be in serious trouble against one of the best-coached teams out there. KenPom.com has this as a 68-64 Florida win, and I can't really argue with that. Pomeroy also projects 62 possessions, which makes sense since both of these clubs are at about 64 trips per contest.

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West Region Final
at Anaheim, CA

No. 5 Arizona Wildcats vs. No. 3 Connecticut Huskies
CBS, 7:05 p.m. ET (approximate)
Announcers: Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery

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My Pick: I honestly thought UConn would have run out of gas by now, I really did. While the Huskies took advantage of a late San Diego State dry spell Thursday, they aren't likely to be so lucky against Arizona this evening, particularly after the Wildcats' torrid final 20 minutes against Duke. Thanks to Kemba Walker's presence and Momo Jones' occasional foibles, the backcourt edge goes to UConn, while Arizona gets an edge inside, thanks to Derrick Williams, who has a bit more talent than the Huskies' unit. Once again, KenPom.com projects a close game, a 73-70 Connecticut victory, over 65 possessions (again, not a bad guess for teams who are in the 66-trip neighborhood). I'll agree with that, and add a guess that Kemba Walker will be involved in UConn's game-winner.

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