Florida-Connecticut rematch has championship implications
The Final Four teams are in place, and Florida looks determined to continue to prove why they are the number one seed.
With impressive and commanding wins in each of their tournament games, Florida is looking to try and stop one of the hottest teams, and players, in the country.
Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier has gained national notoriety this tournament with his senior leadership in the team’s run.
Napier’s 25 points Sunday afternoon lifted the Huskies to a 60-54 win over Michigan State. Trailing for a good part of the game, it was Napier’s presence that allowed the Huskies to find its stride in the second half.
There is no player more influential on Connecticut this year that could lead this team to the championship game. Napier has a legitimate shot at the NBA next season, but watching him in this tournament, it is obvious that his mind is solely set on the tournament for now.
While Connecticut is a seventh seed this year, no one sees them in that light after watching their games this March. Florida will have their hands full against the streaking Huskies Saturday night in North Texas.
For Florida to walk away from this game with a win, it will take all four of their starting senior leaders to step up and hit their stride early in this matchup.
Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin has the hot hand right now, with all the intangibles to guide this Husker team to the championship game. His 18 points per game in the last two contests give a lot of people solid assurance that he can take this team to the next game.
Coach Billy Donovan has his boys more focused than ever at this point, with his Gators now rolling on 30 consecutive wins. The Gators have been fortunate enough to play all of their games this March without too much of a thrill.
Now, that could also be a point of worry for the team. From observing Connecticut, few teams look as clutch in the final minutes of close contests than them. It would be in Florida’s best interest to keep the point margin wide if they want to take this game.
Look for Florida to feed the rock to senior Patric Young down low, and take advantage of his 6’9 size throughout the game. It will take a solid role player like Young to give Florida the edge over Connecticut.
While the Huskies are putting up an outstanding run in the tournament, with wins over teams like Villanova and Michigan State, Florida is just too fast and consistent to be toppled down in this matchup.
Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the last team to beat the Gators. The Huskies themselves back on December 2nd. A 65-64 loss for the Gators. This should be good.
So if Florida can get past Connecticut, they may face the only other team to beat them this season, Wisconsin. How can you not love the madness?