After 64 intense, hectic games with bracket busting results, the NCAA Tournament field is down to just 4 teams. Florida plays UConn tonight at 6:09, and the Kentucky-Wisconsin game is slated to begin at 8:49.
Previewing Florida vs UConn
The Gators come into this game as the number 1 overall seed in the tournament. At 36-2, they have not lost since December 2nd, which was to none other than Connecticut. They are led by senior PG Scottie Wilbekin, senior F Casey Prather, and senior C Patric Young. Florida defeated Albany, blew out Pitt, outlasted UCLA, and dismantled Dayton to reach the Final Four. Meanwhile, UConn is led by star senior PG Shabazz Napier, junior SG Ryan Boatright, and F DeAndre Daniels. They barely etched out a win in OT vs St. Joes in round 1, but have now had 3 close wins against the 2, 3, and 4 seeds in their region.
Players To Watch
This matchup is all about the guards. Sophmore Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin for Florida, against the superb backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright for UConn. Napier has averaged 18 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds this season. Wilbekin only has 2 turnovers this tournament, and averages 13 points per game. Frazier is a knockdown 3 point shooter, the best in all of the Final Four.
How UConn wins…
UConn will win this game if they make Florida jump shooters, force turnovers, and get out in the open floor. However, that is easier said than done. Also, they must get help from Niels Giffey and DeAndre Daniels.
How Florida wins…
Play their usual lockdown defense, make threes, and establish Patric Young and Will Yeguete down low. If the Gators can impose their will in the paint, UConn is in trouble.
Keys to the Game
1. How do the Gators exploit the advantage they have down low with Patric Young?
2. Can the Gators defense, especially Wilbekin, contain Napier?
3. Can Michael Frazier and Niels Giffey for UConn knock down their 3s to extend the defense?
The X Factor in this game is definitely DeAndre Daniels for UConn. If he does not play well, especially getting rebounds, the Huskies are not going to leave North Texas (Arlington) victorious. He must play smart basketball, grab rebounds, and knock down a few perimeter jumpers.
Both teams play very well, and play strong defense, but the Gators are simply too strong for the Huskies. Angry after their last second loss on a buzzer beater in December, the Gators dominate the boards, establish a post game with Young and Yegeute, and get just enough threes to squeak by the Huskies.
Final Score 70-63 Gators