Wisconsin vs. Arizona Elite 8 Preview & Prediction

Wisconsin and Arizona are meeting in the Elite 8 for the second straight year. The Badgers are hoping to make back-to-back Final Fours, while the Wildcats are hoping to make the Final Four for the first time since 2001.

Projected Starting Lineups

(1) Wisconsin Baders (34-3, 16-2 in Big Ten)

G Bronson Koenig (So.) – 8.3 ppg, 2.2 apg

G John Gasser (Sr.) – 7.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg

F Sam Dekker (Jr.) – 13.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg

F Nigel Hayes (So.) – 12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg

F Frank Kaminsky (Sr.) – 18.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg

(2) Arizona Wildcats (34-3, 16-2 in Pac-12)

G T.J. McConnell (Sr.) – 9.7 ppg, 6.0 apg

F Stanley Johnson (Fr.) – 14.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg

F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (So.) – 11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg

F Brandon Ashley (Jr.) – 11.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg

C Kaleb Tarczewski (Jr.) – 9.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg

What to watch for:

Frank Kaminsky vs. Arizona's big men

Kaminsky  loves to stretch the defense by shooting effectively from the outside (40 percent from three-point range), but he also has top notch footwork that makes him a threat in the post as well. Kaminsky puts pressure on the defense from every angle, and he’s someone the opposition has to always account for. However, Arizona has as much size as anyone in the country, something Kaminsky has struggled against. If the Wildcats can limit his effectiveness, they'll win this game.

Stanley Johnson vs. Sam Dekker

Johnson is an elite defensive player, using his supreme strength (6’7″, 245 lbs.) and quickness to consistently locks down the opposition’s best player and come up with steals (1.5 per game) that often lead to points on the other end. He's one of the few players who have the size and athleticism to guard Dekker, who scored a career-high 23 points in Wisconsin's Sweet 16 victory over UNC. Whoever gets the better of this matchup will give their team a major advantage.

Prediction: Wisconsin wins 68-63

These two teams prefer to play a slower, half-court style, meaning this game will be a slugfest. Both teams are very capable of winning this game, but Wisconsin has more offensive firepower, and I think that will prove to be the difference.

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