Gator Basketball vs. BYU, NCAA Championship First Round

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For the first time since 2007, they are playing that song for us as the Florida Gators face the BYU Cougars in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That the Gators are here was in doubt only a few days ago, but now is not the time to worry about seedings or who has experience (UF's only players who have seen the Tournament are Vernon Macklin and Dan Werner) and who hasn't won lately (BYU has not won an NCAA game in 17 years).

The team that wins this game will do so by limiting their opponents strength. Florida has to get in the chest of BYU's guards and prevent them from nailing 3-pointers. BYU has to keep the Gators out of the paint.

BYU's Jimmer Fredette is the type of guy every mid-major has; a cold blooded jump shooter. The instant connection for Gator fans would be Devan Downey of South Carolina. As the Gators have done against the Gamecocks, Florida may have to let Fredette get his points, but on the outside. If Kenny Boynton can guard him enough to prevent Fredette from driving to the bucket and make him shoot jumpers, Florida can win. Everyone on BYU can shoot, so if Fredette is limited, guards Jackson Emery and Tyler Haws can score in double figures and shoot close to 50%. Forward Jonathan Tavernari is the guy who New Mexico coach Steve Alford called an, "asshole," so he could be a thorn in the Gators' side too.

The Gators need to pound the inside to win today. Not only on offense with Macklin, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus, but defensive rebounding. With BYU's ability to score, the Gators have to limit their second chance points. UF tends to win when they out-rebound their opponent, but they are 9-1 when Macklin gets 14 points or more. If the Gators use their length to their advantage, they can win.

In case you are wondering, yes, this is a Championship Mode game.

By the way, you can watch the Florida-BYU game and all of the NCAA Championship games online for free with NCAA March Madness on Demand. Linked below is a video player that is set to send you to the games. You can also access March Madness on Demand by clicking on the widget below the Fanshots column.


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