NCAA Tournament– Watch for Sloppy Play in Gators-Bruins Contest

In four tournament games the Florida Gators have committed 58 turnovers or 14.5 TOs per contest. Their opponents in those four games have totaled 42 turnovers or 10.2 per game. As the Gators have gone deeper into March Madness, their turnovers have increased. The better the teams get, the harder it is for the reigning champs to play a clean game. With UCLA next, Florida would do well to emphasize some basics when it comes to ball handling. The Bruins are just the type of team that can and will make a quality opponent pay for sloppy mistakes.
Blocks and rebounds along with quality shooting from the foul line have greatly benefited the Gators. However, Florida should also be concerned when it comes to steals. Opponents have taken the ball away from them a total of 35 times, while the Gators have tallied only 18 steals—almost a 2 to 1 margin! They were even beaten by 16th seed Jackson State 8 to 5 in this defensive area.

The Bruins have played opponents fairly evenly in both steals and turnovers. Turnovers are even between UCLA and tournament opponents at 60 apiece. Although 60 TOs in 4 games is a big number, remember that about 40% of those happened in the wild game against the Jayhawks! Steals are almost tied also, with opponents notching 31 and the Bruins 28. The Bruins are much better from the penalty stripe than the Gators.

Here’s the skinny—during the tournament, the Gators have consistently played sloppier than opponents, while the Bruins played fairly clean ball in the first two games but had an aberrant performance in their last contest versus Kansas.

The Bruins have something to prove after losing the final to this club last year. They will come in composed and focused. Florida will continue to have their problems with ball handling despite the fact that they have a lot of high-pressure experience. It seems unlikely they can start controlling the ball this late in the game.

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