It's Elite Eight time, y'all.
There are two games on Saturday night, but let's start with the one that SEC fans will have their eye on: Kentucky vs. Notre Dame. Given the other-worldly shooting of the Irish (second in the country in field goal percentage and first in points per possession), they have a puncher's chance at ending the Wildcats' perfect run. But while Kentucky hasn't had to face a point machine quite like Notre Dame, the Irish also haven't had to face a defense anywhere near Kentucky's level (first in field goal percentage defense and KenPom adjusted defense).
The Wildcats' other big advantage is on the boards, as Keith Garrett of A Sea of Blue points out:
Both teams rebound it on the defensive end about the same per game, but offensive rebounding is a big discrepancy. Kentucky gets 40 percent of their misses and Notre Dame gets only ¼ of theirs. From a purely math standpoint, if both teams get off 50 normal shots, Kentucky will get an extra 20 shots up and Notre Dame would only get up an extra 13 from the offensive boards.
A few hours before the Kentucky game, another No. 1 seed, Wisconsin, tips off against No. 2 Arizona. Zona got pushed around by Xavier big man Matt Stainbrook (something Ole Miss can relate to), so stopping Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky is a major concern.
If the Wildcats are to advance it's through a team defensive effort to stop Kaminsky. [Kaleb] Tarczewski may have the task of defending Kaminsky, but it will take a whole team effort to negate Kaminsky and his momentum-changing skills. If the Wildcats are able to begin with an efficient team effort and make Kaminsky ineffective, as they did to Russell, Arizona will be moving on to the Final Four.
Here are the tipoff times and TV info for both games. You can also catch all the action online at March Madness Live.
(1) Wisconsin vs. (2) Arizona
When: 5:09 p.m. CT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
(1) Kentucky vs. (3) Notre Dame
When: 7:49 p.m. CT
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland