Coming into the Final Four, UCLA was known as the best defensive team in the country. On Saturday night, though, it was Florida who was superior defensively. The Gators held UCLA to 25-64 shooting (39%), while dominating the glass (42-25 edge in rebounds) to defeat UCLA 76-66.
After Florida built a comfortable lead in the second half, UCLA did an admirable job of fighting back to keep the game respectable, but Florida was clearly the better team on Saturday night. UCLA has no ability to score in the frontcourt, relies to much on Afflalo, and needs Collison to play extremely well to keep pace with a team like Florida. Billy Donovan had a great gameplan for this Bruins team, and the result was the same as last year's NCAA final: Gators by double digits.
For UCLA, it was a great season, but they need some help on offense to take things to the next level. That's always been the knock on Howland - great defensive coach, but not enough scoring. Maybe this Love kid will help spark an improvement on offense.
For Florida, it's one more win to defend the title. They'll face Ohio State on Monday evening after the Buckeyes shut down the Georgetown Hoyas 67-60. Ohio State hasn't lost a game since January 9th, when they lost a close game to Wisconsin in Madison. They're last loss before that one? A 26 point blowout to Florida in Gainesville.
Full preview of the championship game tomorrow...