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March 29, 2014

Elite Eight Gameday: Florida vs. Dayton

GAME DAY LINKS: Dayton: Eight things to know | UF-UD Game Day Thread | Notebook: Ready for the next step

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 11 Dayton
Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 6:09 p.m. EST
TV: TBS / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network, Sirius/XM 91
Dayton Flyers (26-10)
Streak: Won 3
Last Game: Defeated No. 10 Stanford 82-72
G Khari Price (team-best 88.3 percent from the free-throw line) So. 5-11 170
G Jordan Sibert (shooting 43 percent from 3-point line and averaging 12.5 PPG) R-Jr. 6-4 187
F Devin Oliver (scored 26 at Ole Miss earlier this season) Sr. 6-7 225
F Dyshawn Pierre (makes 49 percent of his shots and has five double-doubles) So. 6-6 210
C Matt Kavanaugh (six Flyers have attempted more shots than Kavanaugh's 132) R-Sr. 6-10 250

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (35-2)
Streak: Won 29
Last Game: Defeated No. 4 UCLA 79-68
G Scottie Wilbekin (scored eight of his 13 points in final seven minutes against UCLA) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (Thursday was ninth time this season he has made five 3-pointers) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (played 19 minutes Thursday because of foul trouble) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (coming off best back-to-back offensive games of the season) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (played 20 minutes against UCLA because of foul trouble) Sr. 6-9 240

Guard the perimeter

Ever upset has a formula and in the NCAA Tournament the most common formula is David getting hot from the 3-point line. The Flyers are hardly a downtown assault squad, but they have shot 39 3-pointers in their last two games and have some sense of danger as a rangy team. Most notable to keep an eye on: Jordan Sibert, who has hit seven 3s in Dayton's last two games and scored a combined 28 points in those contests.
Ride the hot hand

Whenever an elaborate plan seems ideal to help the Gators continue their giant win streak, it seems like that plan gets scrapped and the game gets blown open by some combination of Michael Frazier II and Scottie Wilbekin. Frazier had 19 Thursday night to defeat UCLA. Dayton can't afford to sell out on the 3-point line when Florida has the physical advantage inside.The Flyers may have no option but to utilize a zone defense and play Russian roulette with the Gators' sharpshooter.
Play clean

The South Region has fallen right into Florida's hands. Thanks to an unlikely combination of upsets and failures by top seeds, the Gators are left with their second-lowest seed opponent of the tournament standing between them and the Final Four. Florida will be the better team on the floor tonight and shaking the ghosts of Elite Eights past will likely be as simple as not giving the game away.

Billy Donovan on Dayton as "Cinderella":

"That whole terminology is not given by us, it's given by a the lot of other people. We don't look at anything like that. I think those make great headlines and people talk about that, but if you want to sit down and really, really evaluate Dayton's team or even George Mason back then or whoever it's been, Florida Gulf Coast, I mean, they're good teams. Dayton is a very, very good team. You don't do what they've done the first three games‑ beating Ohio State, beating Syracuse, and then beating Stanford ‑ if you're not a good team."
Patric Young on reversing history:

"We're not going to let the past haunt us because it has no bearing. Of course, we're going to learn from it, but going forward, we're going to get ready for the next team, the Dayton Flyers. We know they're an exceptionally good team. Very similar to us in they're a team that really utilize each other. We're going to do the best we can and make sure we go out there leaving no regrets. I think we're just going to give it our best shot."

Florida 80-60: Three years of losses in the Elite Eight have been painful for the Gators, but nothing would be as disheartening as throwing away the chance to advance to the Final Four with only a No. 11 seed standing in the way. This is often an area where tangible and schematic reasons are given for a prediction. Not today. Florida's seniors did not come this far to let Dayton spoil its farewell. It's that simple.

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