The No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles may have caused the most aches and pains to brackets across America for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but this Cinderella is now a fan favorite. However, the Eagles will have to play a very good No. 3 Florida Gators team in the Sweet 16. With the bragging rights for the state of Florida on the line, what are the keys to this matchup?
The Gators have to continue getting out of the gate hot. They are so good at making threes, especially right after the ball is tipped off. Florida is a very fast scoring team and it can make opponents pay in just a couple of shots.
Erik Murphy and Patric Young need to stay out of foul trouble for this team to be successful. Coming into the season, Young and Kenny Boynton were considered the two stars of this team, but it did not take too long for Murphy to get a lot of the credit. That is because at 6’10”, he is a matchup nightmare who can bury threes.
Mike Rosario was the difference last game, though, with 25 points against the No. 11 Minnesota Gophers.
As good as Florida’s offense has been, its defense has been just as good. In the second round, Florida took on the No. 1 scoring team in the nation. No one told the Gators that, though, because they only gave up 47 points in that game.
For Florida Gulf Coast
As good as No. 2 Georgetown was, the Hoyas were not as well-rounded as the Gators.
The Eagles have to somehow slow down Florida’s offense to start the game. The Gators like to get ahead fast, but they have not won a close game all year. If Florida Gulf Coast can be in contention late in the second half, the odds will be in its favorite.
For this to happen, Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson have to continue their great play. These two players have put up a combined 87 points in two tournament games. This team can also knock down threes, which is crucial when you are playing a team like Florida.
Florida Gulf Coast has amazing guard play, which is going to be the biggest factor of this game. Not to mention, it will make for some great matchups. However, the Eagles have to somehow contain Murphy because he is the difference going into this game.
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