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Elite Eight Preview and Open Thread

This is what Irish basketball fans have been waiting for. Pat, Jerian, DJ, Steve, Zach, Bonz, and VJ have a chance to slay the dragon. Beware: previews and gamethread ahead.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #2 Arizona Wildcats 6:09 ET - TBS

In a rematch of an incredible Elite Eight game last year, the Cats and Badgers meet in the West Regional Final. The Badgers won an overtime game last March, and it's been haunting Arizona ever since. Both teams feature highly ranked offenses and defenses according to KenPom, with Wisconsin featuring the better offense and Arizona the tougher D. There is very little between these two teams, and we should be in for a treat. Player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky leads the Wisconsin offense with help from Sam Decker and Bronson Koening. Traevon Jackson returned from injury against UNC on Thursday, although his minutes were limited. Ronde Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley are no slouches themselves inside for the Cats, and point guard TJ McConnell will be a handful for either Koeining or Jackson. This should be one of the games of the tournament, and since I picked Arizona before the tournament, I'll stick with them. Enjoy the undercard, because the main event is even better for Irish fans.

Prediction: Arizona 67, Wisconsin 65

#1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Doubt them all you want, but the Irish should push UK to their absolute limit. UK hasn't faced a team like the Irish, and with multiple wins over UNC and Duke, the Irish will be unafraid to face the Cats. KenPom gives ND an 18% chance against UK, and favors the Wildcats by nine. The Irish were also underdogs against Duke, UNC, and Wichita State already this postseason. The Irish also have a history of ending long winning streaks (what's 37-0 compared to 88-0). As much as I want to pick ND, I feel like the size of Kentucky will present too much of a problem on both ends. I want to be wrong, but I see the Irish going the distance against UK, but ultimately falling short.

Prediction: Kentucky 71, Notre Dame 65