NCAA Tournament

NCAA regional finals preview

WEST REGION At Phoenix • No. 4 Louisville (29-9) vs. No. 7 Florida (26-10),

3:30 p.m., CBS

Florida coach Billy Donovan calls Louisville’s Rick Pitino “the most influential person my life.” The two connected when Pitino was a young coach at Providence and guard Donovan led the Friars to an unexpected Final Four. Donovan has three Final Fours and two national titles; Pitino five Final Fours and a title. Now, they’re unlikely finalists for a Final Four berth. Louisville stunned top-seeded Michigan State, and Florida handled third-seeded Marquette. Coming up big for the Cardinals was center Gorgui Dieng with seven blocks, three steals and nine rebounds. St. Louis native Bradley Beal was huge against the Golden Eagles with 21 points. The Gators got this far last year before falling to Butler. Time to take the next step.

Prediction

: Florida 64-60

EAST REGION At Boston • No. 1 Syracuse (34-2) vs. No. 2 Ohio State (30-7),

6:05 p.m., CBS

Hands up if you believed the Orange would crash before now. Despite the loss of center Fab Melo and a shaky victory over UNC Asheville, Syracuse is playing for the Final Four. Jim Boeheim was 4-11 in Sweet 16 games before surviving Wisconsin 64-63 on Thursday. C.J. Fair, who had scored 15 points in his previous five games, had 15 and led four double-digit scores for the Orange. The last time Syracuse got this far in the tournament, in 2003, it won it all. Ohio State got 20 first-half points from Deshaun Thomas, who finished with 26 against Cincinnati. It’s the Buckeyes’ first trip to a regional final since they lost the 2007 national title game.

Prediction
  Comments