NCAA tournament preview: West and South Regional finals

NCAA tournament preview: West and South Regional finals
Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot sophomore, blocks a shot by San Diego State guard Xavier Thomas in the West Regional semifinal on Thursday. (Harry How / Getty Images)

A look at the NCAA tournament regional finals on Saturday.

West Regional


at Honda Center, Anaheim

NO. 1 ARIZONA (33-4) VS. NO. 2 WISCONSIN (29-7)

WHEN: 5:49 p.m. PDT. TV: TBS.

Wisconsin put on a clinic in basketball fundamentals in Thursday's semifinal destruction of Baylor. The Badgers used precision passing to dissect Baylor's 1-3-1 zone and, defensively, held the Bears to 16 first-half points. Wisconsin made 26 of 51 shots, marking only the third time in program history the Badgers have made more than 50% of their shots in an NCAA tournament game.

Wisconsin also held Baylor scoreless in transition and outrebounded the Bears, 40-33. Frank Kaminsky, the Badgers' 7-foot center, scored a team-high 19 points, making eight of 11 shots. It was the best single-game NCAA tournament shooting percentage (72.7%) in school history. Kaminsky also had a career-high six blocks. This is Wisconsin's third trip to the Elite Eight and first since 2005, when the Badgers lost to eventual national champion North Carolina.

Top-seeded Arizona overcame early foul trouble and a slow start from star guard Nick Johnson to defeat San Diego State in its semifinal game. Center Kaleb Tarczewski was limited to 20 minutes after picking up three first-half fouls. He finished with seven points and one rebound. Johnson, the Pac-12 Conference player of the year, missed his first 11 shots against San Diego State but still ended up the hero with two big baskets and 10 free throws in the final 2 minutes 44 seconds. Johnson, Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson each finished with 15 points.

Arizona is seeking its first Final Four appearance since 2001. This is the Wildcats' second Elite Eight trip in the last four years under Coach Sean Miller. In 2011, Arizona lost to eventual national champion Connecticut in the West Regional title game in Anaheim.

--Chris Dufresne

South Regional

at FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.

NO. 1 FLORIDA (35-2) VS. NO. 11 DAYTON (26-10)

WHEN: 3:09 p.m. PDT. TV: TBS.

Take away a few early mistakes and Florida looked every bit the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament in eliminating UCLA on Thursday. The Gators played solid defense, outrebounded the Bruins by 10, and made eight three-point baskets. Guard Michael Frazier II scored a game-high 19 points, making five of eight from three-point range after struggling in the Gators' first two tournament games.

Guard Scott Wilbekin, the player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, made only two of his first 12 shots before sinking his last three — including a driving, off-balance bank shot that was the dagger basket with less than two minutes to play as Florida won its 29th consecutive game.


Dayton is trying to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1967, and the Flyers will come at the Gators in waves. Dayton used 12 players in the first half of its regional semifinal win over Stanford, wearing out the Cardinal with defensive pressure and up-tempo offense.

The Flyers have fared well against teams from power conferences such as the SEC, with a 6-2 record — both losses at the buzzer.

--Mike Hiserman