Florida Vs Villanova
Florida/Villanova Game Preview
#3 Florida takes on #1 Villanova in the Minneapolis Region
VILLANOVA WILDCATS: The Boston College Eagles led through much of the game, out shooting the Wildcats 46% to 34%. But the Eagles were plagued by something that has haunted them all season—poor foul shooting. Villanova was sound from the line, hitting 69% of their 19 tries, while the Eagles knocked down only 47% of their 17 attempts. Although Villanova was out rebounded by a margin of 5, their sure ball handling and pesky defense discombobulated B.C., especially in the final 5 minutes of the game. Nova had 11 steals to the Eagles 5 and only committed 10 turnovers to the Eagles 21. The main man on the court was Villanova’s senior Randy Foye. The guard looked much bigger last night than his 6-foot, 3-inch frame as he battled for and stole the ball repeatedly and threw in 48.3% of the Wildcats’ 60 point points. Villanova, which found itself down by 14 at one point in the first half, fought to go into the locker room at the half trailing by only 6. In the second half, with about four minutes left in regulation, Nova took control and gained the lead. B.C. sent the contest into overtime by hitting a 3-pointer in the final 29 seconds. In the overtime, Foye seemed to be everywhere, with the Wildcats taking the game in the final seconds, 60-59.
(NEED TO: This first seed team met its biggest challenge so far in the tournament and despite being down early and having to fight as hard as they ever have all year, they managed to pull out a win. They not only survive to go onto the Elite Eight, but they get a character and gut-check win, which cannot be underestimated at this point in the tournament. Randy Foye showed true leadership and amazing tenacity against a team that towered above him. When you get this deep into the Madness it really helps to have that ultimate team captain on the floor. Nova played great defense and, unlike the Eagles, handled the ball well. All of these attributes will serve them well against Florida. The up tempo game is this team’s bread and butter; B.C. took them out of that rhythm. Once Nova started to run, make the quick transition, and move the ball inside, outside, and in again, the game started to turn around. Villanova must be sure they don’t allow the Gators to take them out of their game like the Eagles did. If that scenario is repeated, they’re bound to have another long, tough fight.)
FLORIDA GATORS: Sophomore swingman Joakim Noah had a double-double, knocking in 15 points and holding onto 10 rebounds, while leading the third seed Gators to a win over the seventh seed Georgetown Hoyas, 57-53. In the end, it was sophomore guard Corey Brewer (9 points), hitting an off-balance jump shot with 27 seconds left and getting fouled to add a third point, that made the difference. With that sequence, Brewer put the Gators in the lead for good—55 to 53. Although Florida has a big team, Georgetown’s inside men are bigger. Still, the Gators matched the Hoyas rebound for rebound and beat them in the shot blocking category by a ratio of 2 to 1. Florida went into the locker room at the half trailing by 2 points. The second-half saw Joakim Noah converting inside numerous times, although both teams struggled from the court. Despite the fact that Florida is a young team with a majority of its starters coming from its sophomore ranks, they played a disciplined game only sending the Hoyas to the charity stripe for 8 shots, while the Gators stepped up to the line 17 times. The team from Florida was plus 8 over the Hoyas at the foul line. Although the game went down to the wire, the Gators shot better than the Hoyas did from the court, the three-point zone, and the penalty stripe.
(FLORIDA NEEDS TO: Like the B.C. Eagles, the Gators are bigger than the Wildcats and they should use that to their advantage. Overall, Florida handles the ball much better than B.C. and despite the fact that they are young and inexperienced, they don’t show that on the court. They’ve been playing smart, disciplined ball, which is one of the primary reasons they’ve made it to the Elite Eight. Villanova has not been shooting well from the court, and they can be rattled by a tough defense. Florida can use its size to intimidate and control the boards. They have to find a way to at least neutralize Foye to some degree—controlling the ball, which B.C. was unable to do with consistency, is the best way to do that. They also have to continue to make the most out of free throw opportunities; the Cats are also a good free throw team and will probably hit about 70% of their penalty chances. The Gators can win this game. Whoever is victorious, it should be a good contest.)
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