Gators face Dayton with a Final Four spot on the line

Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators fires up his teammates in their win over UCLA

Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators fires up his teammates in their win over UCLA

Around 6:09 p.m. time tonight on TBS the No.1 ranked University of Florida Gators will tip off against the upstart Dayton Flyers in Memphis in South Regional Final.

The winner headed to Arlington, Texas for the Final Four.  This marks the fourth straight year that the Gators have made it to the regional final. The question remains can they advance past a very talented Dayton team?

The game against Dayton is unfinished business for Florida, who wants their season to continue past this evening.

The game’s key match up could be:  How well can Florida guard Michael Frazier do one on one against  Dayton guard Jordan Sibert

One of the ways Dayton can attack Florida is by getting open looks from three-point range. While Florida is capable of defending anything, their strength is holding down the interior. Frazier and Sibert are the two outstanding shooters on their teams, as well as two of the best in NCAA basketball. Sibert shot 43 percent on 5.4 attempts per game this year, while Frazier put down 45 percent of his threes on almost seven attempts per game. Both of these players are capable of going off for a big game, and both did so in the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile, the Gators, as the heavy favorite, needs to play ball the way their coach tells them. Big time upsets happen when underdogs force the action and set the tone, and if Florida gets behind early they will probably lose the crowd to their opponent. The Gators got 23 points off of their bench against UCLA, showing off some of their depth. Patric Young played only 20 minutes with foul trouble, and Florida still won on the glass. They can win a lot of ways, and they have a championship coach overseeing it all. They are also an immensely deep team.  Billy Donovan will let his squad play ten men deep if he can find match-ups that favor him or a hot hand. Florida squeezed three offensive rebounds and 7 points out of the ninth man against UCLA.

The last time an 11-seed played a 1-seed in the Elite Eight, VCU defeated top ranked Kansas to go to the Final Four.

While Dayton is a quality basketball team the Gators are on a mission and their season won’t end in Memphis. Look for Florida to win a close game over the Flyers by less than ten points.   

 

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