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Elite 8 Preview: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 11 Dayton

Mar 29, 2014, 5:51 AM EDT

Archie Miler Archie Miler

On Saturday and Sunday, we will be breaking down all eight of the Elite 8 matchups. Here is our look at No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 2 Wisconsin:

WHEN: Saturday, 6:09 p.m. (TBS)

WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis (South Region)

MAJOR STORY LINES: Billy Donovan has led the Gators to his fourth consecutive Elite 8. But he hasn’t been to a Final Four since he was his second national title back in 2007. This time around, he’ll be going up against a No. 11 seed as a double-digit favorite. It’s time for Donovan — and Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Will Yeguete — to make a Final Four. On the other side of the court, we have Archie Miller, the younger brother of Arizona head coach Sean Miller. Can both brothers make the Final Four? Will Archie get to the Final Four despite coaching at a place like Dayton?

KEY STATS: The bottom line is this: Florida is the No. 2 defense in the country, according to KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings. And when it comes to coaching, it may be even more difficult to build a gameplan around how to beat the Gators. They simply give you so many looks defensively. They can play man or zone, they can press or play in the half court, they can try to force turnovers or focus on preventing offensive rebounds. The bottom line is that Billy Donovan’s club is the best in the business.

KEY PLAYERS: The guys that have made the difference for Dayton through three games in the NCAA tournament aren’t the guys that will get the publicity. it’s not Archie Miller and it’s not Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert. The players to keep an eye on are the forwards for Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre and Devin Oliver. The two of them are a nightmare given then ability to shoot from the perimeter.

POINT SPREAD: Florida (-10.5)


1. Scottie Wilbekin: There isn’t a single player in the country that has consistently proven himself in big situations than Wilbekin has. All he does is hit big shots in clutch moments down the stretch, and nothing that happened against UCLA would prove otherwise.

2. Dayton’s threes: The best way to beat a favorite, especially one that will get as much action as Dayton will on Sunday, is to control the number of threes that they are able to make. Dayton shoots 37.5% from beyond the arc.

3. How long will Dayton hang around?: I hate phrasing it like that, but the bottom line is that the Flyers really don’t have any business competing with Florida, who is more or less the best team in the country at this point in the season. I’m a huge Archie Miller fan and I expect Florida to give the Flyers a fight, but that doesn’t mean that this group will be able to pull off the upset.


  1. stoutfiles - Mar 29, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    Florida by how many? Too scared to give a point prediction after you picked Stanford by 10?

  2. spunhead73 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Go Flyers!!!!!

  3. jaydm84 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Florida loves ending a good Cinderella story.

  4. stlhomeboy - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    “Despite coaching at a place like Dayton.” Jeez – have some respect for college basketball history. Dayton has a long basketball tradition. This ain’t Florida Gulf Coast.

    • stoutfiles - Mar 29, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      It’s a joke how little respect Dayton has gotten from the writers here. There’s a reason that this site averages one comment per article compared to profootballtalk, hardballtalk, etc. They don’t know or can’t be bothered to know anything about the mid-majors and offer no new insight on anything.

  5. gatorprof - Mar 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Dayton is a very nice team, a very well coached team. They have excellent depth. Each team that they beat, they either had equal (or superior) talent/depth (OSU and Stanford) and/or were a more cohesive team (Syr). For some reason, the press isn’t talking about that narrative (i.e., OSU and Stanford really shouldn’t have been a surprise). If I were a Dayton fan, I would be irritated by the Cinderella talk. As stlhomeboy stated, this isn’t FGCU.

    Against Florida, they are going up against superior talent, depth (the first 3 off the bench for UF; Finney-Smith, Hill and Chris Walker would all start for Dayton), and experience/cohesiveness.

    If the Gators play like they have been playing, this should be a 80-65 type of game. The only way that Dayton wins is if the Gators are looking past them. This isn’t to say that Dayton isn’t an excellent team. It is just that UF is a buzz saw this year.

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