When the two teams met in the first round of 2000, Mike Miller hit a buzzer-beater for the Gators in overtime. If this game follows that script, the shot will come from Chandler Parsons, the SEC player of the year, who has a history of late-game dramatics. The 6'10" forward's combination of size, skill and smarts is Florida's best asset; he leads the team in rebounds and assists, and he hits 37.5% of his threes. The Gators don't overwhelm teams with future NBA talent; all they do is win. They're not going to stop doing that here.
VCU beats FLORIDA STATE
These teams pulled off the two most surprising wins of the weekend. The 11th-seeded Rams carved up a terrific Purdue defense—thanks largely to 5'10" senior point guard Joey Rodriguez, who had 11 assists and no turnovers—while the 10th-seeded Seminoles shut down Notre Dame's potent scoring attack. VCU has the best offensive player (6'9" senior forward Jamie Skeen), while Florida State has the best defensive player (6'9" junior forward Chris Singleton). The difference is that the Rams can also play some nasty D of their own, while FSU sometimes struggles to score.
KANSAS beats RICHMOND
One thing the Spiders fear is a mobile big man who can defend out to the three-point line. Kansas doesn't have one—it has four. That will spell trouble for 6'10" senior forward Justin Harper, who hits 45.2% from beyond the arc. Richmond's underrated defense presents a challenge for the Jayhawks, but thanks to veteran guards like Tyrel Reed, they move the ball better than any team Bill Self has coached, which is why they lead the nation in field goal percentage (51.4%). KU can match Richmond's efficiency, but the Spiders have no hope of matching the Jayhawks' size and speed.
KANSAS BEATS VCU
You have to be a little lucky to get to the Final Four. The Jayhawks' three main challengers—Notre Dame, Purdue and Louisville—all lost in the first weekend. VCU's Cinderella run started in the First Four, but the clock will strike midnight against a far superior Kansas team. Besides having more talent, the Jayhawks are comfortable playing the Rams' up-tempo style. One potential question mark for KU has been the inconsistent play of junior point guard Tyshawn Taylor, but it seems that Taylor and his mates have found a solid rhythm.
OHIO STATE BEATS DUKE
Duke has had a bad habit this season of firing up three-pointers in a tight spot. Well, this is going to be a tight spot. The Buckeyes aren't disruptive on defense, but they excel at closing off dribbling and passing lanes without fouling. And while the Blue Devils need to force turnovers and score in transition, Ohio State knows how to take care of the ball.