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Friday, March 28, 2014
A real David and Goliath story

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Dayton
Dayton jumped for joy after beating Stanford, but the Flyers must beat Florida to keep dancing.

Does Cinderella have one more upset left?

The Dayton Flyers have been an incredible story in this year's NCAA tournament. Wins over Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford have coach Archie Miller's team one win away from the Final Four.

Remember, this Dayton team was 13-8 at the end of January. Its résumé included a December overtime loss at home to a subpar USC team.

That is all forgotten now. That's the beauty of March Madness, as a team can get hot and make a serious run to glory.

Standing in the way of Dayton's amazing story is a Florida team making its fourth straight trip to the Elite Eight. Coach Billy Donovan and his team want a lot more this time.

Florida extended its winning streak to 29 games Thursday by beating UCLA, but it was not easy.

UCLA trailed just 56-55 before going cold, failing to score for almost five minutes. Michael Frazier II, who had totaled 13 points in the first two games of the NCAA tournament, had 19 big points against the Bruins. He hit five 3s to give the Gators some momentum.

There are great storylines in this contest -- an unsung Dayton team against the club that entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. It is like a Hollywood script, but it is real. This is the ultimate David vs. Goliath matchup.

On Dayton's side, Miller is a rising star in the coaching profession, leading the Flyers to the Elite Eight as an 11th seed. He has such a deep and athletic team and has gotten contributions from so many different players.

Jordan Sibert has developed into a big-time clutch performer. Against Stanford, he put up 18 points and hit a big 3, part of an 8-0 run after the Cardinal had cut a double-digit deficit to 49-45.

Players like Vee Sanford, Matt Kavanaugh and now Kendall Pollard have come through and made a difference in this tremendous stretch drive.

Florida has its own set of key players. Scottie Wilbekin has matured into a leader. Patric Young is a force up front. Casey Prather is a baseline beauty who has made big plays all season. Dorian Finney-Smith comes off the bench and provides a spark. Will Yeguete does the little things that make Florida a winner. Chris Walker had a nice block and made his presence known against the Bruins.

When it is all said and done, I do not think the Gators will be denied. I see Florida moving on to the Final Four. The Cinderella story ends on Saturday in Memphis.