There are plenty of juicy battles to keep an eye on this evening when UM faces Nova with an Elite 8 appearance on the line tonight.
The PG match-up between Rodriguez and Arcidiacono will be two very fiery, experienced, senior leaders going head to head.
And while that engagement is sure to draw the most talk before, during, and after this evening's contest, there is one that is in my opinion a little more important.
Both of these teams will play a lot of 4 guard line-ups.
But when shots are missed and rebounds are to be had, or when slashing wings head to the paint and shots are to be contested, two key figures could decide the outcome.
My match-up of the night is Tonye Jekiri Vs Daniel Ochefu.
Ochefu - 9.8 PPG, 61.9 FG%, 67.8 FT%, 7.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Jekiri - 7.8 PPG, 52.6 FG%, 57.6 FT%, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Ochefu - Very strong, and an above average athlete. Has good hands, and can occasionally finish with a hook shot off the low post. Improved passer off double teams. Excellent screener. Gets to the offensive glass efficiently. Does not handle the ball well. Not much of a jumper. Mediocre at the foul line.
Here's a sample of his work:
Jekiri - Ferocious rebounder. Does a great job using the "rule of verticality" to avoid fouls and bother the opposition's shots. Decent and improved back to the basket game. One of the best in college hoops at setting screens. Okay mid range shooter. However has regressed at the line. Often mishandles passes off penetration and has struggled at times finishing in tight.
Jekiri at his very best:
The Nova big man is the more consistent of the two. And UM's Jekiri has a little more help down low in the form of 6'8 PF Kamari Murphy. But like most of the rest of their rosters, Miami and Villanova will feel like they are looking in the mirror when they examine the C position.
TJ has the capability to have a big game tonight. Coach L hinted at it in Monday's presser.
When the 'Cats pressure the ball and 'Canes guards penetrate and find Jekiri down low, he has to do a better job of putting the ball in the basket than he has of late. That means going up strong and confidently after a clean catch with no hesitation.
Nova's Ochefu does that on a regular basis. So a big edge there for the Wildcats.
But if the outside shots aren't falling, Miami's big is a better option for post ups.
Either way, if one of these two talented bigs get the better of the other, huge advantage for his respective team.
It's going to be a man's game in the paint, and this should be a fun one to watch.