Florida - UCLA Preview

Florida Gators (1) Vs. UCLA Bruins (2)
Sunday, 3/31 @ 8:47
Betting Line From Bookmaker: Florida -3

In a game that saw Florida start to pull away from the Oregon with about 16 minutes to go in the second half, last year’s champs continued their route towards a repeat performance by beating the Ducks 85- 77. Their next hurdle is UCLA. UCLA beat the number one seed Kansas Jayhawks 68- 55, taking the Bruins to their 17th Final Four appearance.

In their game against Oregon, Florida was not as accurate from the foul line, shooting only 65% to the Ducks’ 94%, but the Gators went to the line 27 more times and scored 13 more points in free throws than their rivals. From the floor, Florida hit 48% to the Jayhawks 47% and 46% from the three-point mark to their opponent’s 36%.

Florida dominated the boards, taking down 35 rebounds, 14 more than Kansas. Inside, forward/center Joakim Noah led everyone with 14 rebounds. He also scored 14 points. Senior guard Lee Humphrey was the high scorer for the winners with 23 points. Guard Taurean Green was good for 21 points and 3 assists. Upfront, forward Corey Brewer scooped 5 rebounds and hit for 14 points, and swingman Al Horford banged for 7 rebbies and 6 points. Humphrey was 7 of 13 on 3-pointers and Green was 4 of 8.

The Gators had 18 turnovers—too many—while executing 5 blocks and 5 steals. Disciplined play and maturity kept them out of foul trouble and helped secure the win.

Many have thought from the outset that this year could be the year that the UCLA Bruins secure their 12th NCAA crown. The Bruins looked good against the Jayhawks as they shot 53% to Kansas’ 41%. They also knocked down 12 of 18 (67%) from the free throw stripe. The Jayhawks only garnered 5 of 11 (46%).

It was a sloppy game that saw 15 steals by UCLA and 17 by Kansas and 24 turnovers by the Bruins and 21 by the Jayhawks. Rebounds were close too—28 for UCLA to 25 for Kansas. It came down to shooting and it really came down to junior guard Arron Afflalo who threw in 24 points, including 3 of 7 from the three-point line. Sophomore forward Josh Shipp was central in the victory—6 rebounds, 5 assists and 9 points. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the sophomore forward, grabbed 6 rebounds and put in 8 points. Guard Darren Collison sank 14 points, while backup forward Alfred Aboya swiped 6 rebounds.

Florida will be tough off the boards and has been playing disciplined ball. Both Florida and UCLA had too many turnovers in each of their last games. Florida has to shut down Afflalo and UCLA must block the Gators out of the boards. Both clubs must play a clean game to win. Inside, the Gators can block shots but also inside the Bruins can pass and find the open man. Whichever team commits the fewest mistakes will win. Watch the free throw line. Gators have the advantage there.

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