Florida and Wisconsin Advance to Final Four


by Bill DiFilippo

Half of the Final Four field is now set.

After last night’s slate of NCAA Tournament games, the Florida Gators and the Wisconsin Badgers are moving on to college basketball’s final weekend.

In the first game of the night, the No. 1 seeded Gators took down the No. 11 seeded Dayton Flyers, 62-52. Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin led the gators with 23 points. 

The game was rarely in doubt for Florida. The Gators raced out to an early 7-2 lead, and while the Flyers responded — even taking a 21-20 lead with 6:43 left in the first — Florida stepped on the gas to end the half. The Gators ended the first half on an 18-3 run to take a 38-24 lead into the locker room, which was capped off by a three from NBA range by Wilbekin just before the horn.

The second half was much of the same, as Florida constantly kept Dayton at arm’s length. The Flyers were unable to get within 8 points of the Gators, and despite getting outscored in the half, Florida was able to get out of the South region with relative ease, winning every game by double-digits.

In the night’s second game, the No. 2 seeded Badgers took down No. 1 seeded Arizona in an overtime thriller, 64-63, behind a monster night by big man Frank Kaminsky. The junior shredded the Wildcats for 28 points and 11 rebounds, and scored 6 of Wisconsin’s 10 points in overtime.

The Wildcats led for the entire first half, scoring the first 5 points of the game. While the Badgers frequently got the score down to a one-possession game, they were unable to take the lead. Behind 8 first half points from sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizon took a 28-25 lead into the locker room.

Wisconsin was able to tie the game at 34 just before the under-16 minute media time out, and the two teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the half. Neither team led by more than 5 points during the second half, and with 36 seconds left in the game, Arizona freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson threw down a tip slam to tie the game up at 54. After Wisconsin’s Traevon Jackson was unable to hit a game winner during the team’s final possession, the game went to overtime.

The Badgers took the lead with a three by Ben Brust 1:05 into the extra frame, and led for the rest of the game. Arizona cut Wisconsin’s lead to 1 point with a minute remaining, but neither team was able to score in the game’s final 60 seconds, and Wisconsin advanced to the Final Four as the champions of the West region.

The remaining Elite Eight matchups will take place later today. The games will begin at 2:20, when No. 4 Michigan State takes on No. 7 UConn in the finals of the East region. Then, at 5:05, No. 2 Michigan will take on No. 8 Kentucky for Midwest region supremacy.