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March 27, 2014

Sweet 16 Gameday: Florida vs. UCLA

GAME DAY LINKS: UCLA: 16 things to know | UF-UCLA Game Day Thread

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 9:50 p.m. EST
TV: CBS / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network
UCLA Bruins (28-8)
Streak: Won 5
Last Game: Defeated No. 12 Stephen F. Austin 77-60
G Kyle Anderson (only player in the country averaging at leas 10 PPG, 8 RPG and 6 APG) So. 6-9 230
G Jordan Adams (team scoring leader averaging 17.4 PPG) So. 6-5 220
G Norman Powell (scored at least 15 points in each of his last four games) Jr. 6-4 215
F David Wear (grabbed 10 rebounds in a game just once this season) R-Sr. 6-10 230
F Travis Wear (averaging 7.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG on the season) R-Sr. 6-10 230

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (34-2)
Streak: Won 28
Last Game: Defeated No. 9 Pittsburgh 61-45
G Scottie Wilbekin (tied a season-high 21 points against Pittsburgh) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (went 3 for 13 from beyond the arc in Orlando) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (eight points, six rebounds in 32 minutes against the Panthers) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (his eight points Saturday were his most since Feb. 8) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (top performer in Orlando with 17 points, 18 rebounds) Sr. 6-9 240

Establish your own pace

This one has been billed -- accurately -- as something of a contrast in styles. Only eight college basketball teams, and none remaining in the NCAA Tournament, average more points per game than UCLA. Only two teams, and one remaining in the field, allow less points per game than the Gators. Thanks to a diverse non-conference schedule, the Gators have experience playing all types of games. While they could try to go shot for shot with the Bruins, their best bet is getting early buckets and setting a tone defensively.
Push possessions inside

UCLA has one of the most dangerous backcourts in college basketball. The Bruins are lengthy and rangy in their scoring capabilities. But a glance at the frontcourt and there is a significant drop-off. Yes, UCLA has height but it does not have the ability to bang inside with a player like Patric Young or the mix of athleticism and size to account for Dorian Finney-Smith. These players, along with Casey Prather, will need to be difference-makers.
Don't let Kyle Anderson take over

It's highly unlikely the Gators will allow the hyped idea of Scottie Wilbekin vs. Anderson become a one-on-one matchup. Florida will use the length and defensive ability of Finney-Smith and Prather to get to Anderson on the perimeter. Regardless, he is a unique player who can take over a game by turning his rebounding ability into the kickstarter for UCLA's scary quick transition offense. Billy Donovan's defense will have its hands full.

Donovan on the idea of playing up-tempo against UCLA:

"We all want the ball to go in the basket. I hope we score 120 tomorrow, but we haven't done it this year. I think we want to play up tempo. UCLA wants to play up tempo. There's things you have to do in playing up tempo. You have to take care of the ball. You don't want to give up easy baskets. Certainly for us, we're pressing. When we press, we're trying to force tempo. We would like to play fast, but there's things that we have to do inside of playing fast, and when you're playing against a team as gifted and as talented as UCLA is on the break, in their half‑court offense, you want to make sure that you're able to get matched up and not give up a lot of easy baskets."
Wilbekin on the anatomy of the matchup:

"They're a great offensive team. We're a good defensive team. I think those styles are going to clash a little bit in the game. Whoever's style of play wins out will be the team that wins the game."

Florida 70-60: The ultimate test of advancing to the Final Four is supposed to be winning your Elite Eight matchup. But thanks to an utter collapse around the South Region, this will be Florida's toughest hurdle to clear in its mission to end a season at JerryWorld. UCLA poses a different challenge but one that should be manageable for Florida assuming it plays the way it has in marquee games all season. This is the Bruins, the kind of team the Gators have no problem getting up for. The Gators are able to work inside-out with Young opening the floor for Michael Frazier II to break out of a shooting slump and hold a comfortable lead throughout the game.

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