Commentary

Elite Eight Saturday Preview

Updated: March 27, 2009, 4:38 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH vs. VILLANOVA

A pair of Big East teams meeting for a berth in the Final Four in Detroit.

Pittsburgh cannot afford to play the way it did in the first half of the previous two games, against Oklahoma State and Xavier. If it does, it has no shot to beat a red-hot Villanova team.

Jay Wright's Wildcats scored back-to-back wins by 20+ against UCLA and Duke, quality victories.

The Panthers have a great trio in DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields and Sam Young; they combined for 43 of the team's 60 points against Xavier.

Villanova has great depth and guys like Reggie Redding, Shane Clark and Dwayne Anderson are contributors that cannot be forgotten.

The Wildcats did a great job defensively against the Blue Devils, limiting the trip of Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler to 9-of-45 from the field, 20 percent.

This figures to be a war. Villanova beat Pittsburgh earlier in the season, and Blair was in foul trouble in that contest.

CONNECTICUT vs. MISSOURI

The Tigers did a brilliant job in beating Memphis on Thursday. Mike Anderson's team put on a clinic in building up a 13-halftime lead en route to scoring 102 points.

Now Missouri, which had five players in double figures against Memphis, has to face Hasheem Thabeet in the middle. All Thabeet did against Purdue was score 15 points, grab 15 rebounds and block four shots. He makes teams adjust shots in the lane.

The Huskies got a solid performance in the regional semifinals from Craig Austrie, who had 17 big points.

Connecticut has made up for the loss of Jerome Dyson with the athletic play of Stanley Robinson. Mr. Robinson quietly had a double-double against Purdue.

I don't think anyone will stop them from going to the Final Four, even with the impressive play of Missouri. Connecticut has been the most impressive team I have seen so far in the tournament. I don't believe anything will distract them; plus the Huskies have had success in the Valley of the Sun. In 1999 and 2004, Connecticut won the West Regional in Arizona en route to the national championship. Can Calhoun and company make it 3-for-3?

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.