Can Bradley Beal be the key to Florida returning to the Elite Eight?
Billy Donovan's only lost once in the Sweet Sixteen as Florida's head coach, and that was on Casey Calvary's miracle shot in 1999. I think we can all agree that we are hoping that does not recur.
10:17 p.m. Eastern
TV, Radio and Streaming Information
The game will be broadcast nationally on TBS. You can also watch it streaming online or on your mobile device of choice through March Madness Live. The radio broadcast will also be available on Sportradio 850 or on Sirius 93 and XM 191.
Game Thread Guidelines
Try to remember that, despite how emotional watching a Gators game can be, there's no reason to be abusive. Rant, curse, or exult if you must, but keep the personal attacks to a minimum.
After the jump, preview-like substances!
Players to Watch
The last time Boynton made more than half of his threes was in a 6-for-9, 20-point performance against Auburn. Florida's record in games in which Boynton makes more than half of his threes is 8-0. And the Gators are 11-3 when he makes at least 50 percent of his treys. It would probably behoove Kenny to make threes tonight.
The frontcourt player Anonymous Eagle is most worried about is going to have the biggest size advantage of any Florida player on the floor, and he could do things off the dribble if Marquette is forced to respect his outside shot. But Murphy could also be bullied around by Jae Crowder if he is asked to man up on him, much like he has been by Terrence Jones.
You know what kind of combo guard should give Florida trouble? A bruising guy with size and a decent shot who looks to drive first. You know what kind of player DJO is? That kind. Boynton (or Bradley Beal) is going to have his hands full on the defensive end.
Jae Crowder Runs Roughshod
The Golden Eagles' combo forward has the size, skill, and shot to be nigh unguardable: Beal is probably the best match for him athletically, and Casey Prather has the right dimensions to trouble his shot, but Will Yeguete is by far the Gator who is made to guard Crowder, and he'll be sitting on the bench in street clothes. So Crowder could just lay waste to Florida and propel Marrquette to the Sweet Sixteen. That would be unfortunate.
Patric Young Goes Ham
Young's best game in his last five was the 21-point, nine-rebound breakout against Kentucky in Gainesville ... but he hasn't had more than 13 points or seven rebounds since, despite being pitted against less imposing foes than Jones and Anthony Davis. If he steps up and gives Florida a consistent inside option, it could open up the Marquette defense; if he can get someone like Crowder in foul trouble, even better.
The Shots Fall
Threes didn't fall against Virginia. 10 of 28 did against Norfolk State. But the Gators can shoot even better than that, and may have to if other things don't immediately work. The key, as ever, will be taking good threes because they are good, and not forcing threes because they can.
I think Florida has more talent than Marquette, and I think Beal's due for a huge offensive game (he's gone more than two games between 15 points just twice this year, and it's been two games since his last 15-point performance), and I think Billy Donovan has his team fully ready to roll into the Elite Eight. It'll be close, but I'm taking Florida, 74-69.