NCAA Tournament Gameday: (3) Florida Gators vs. (14) Northwestern State Demons

By Adam Silverstein
March 22, 2013

Location: Frank Erwin Center – Austin, TX [Capacity: 16,292]
Time: 7:27 p.m. EST

TV: truTV (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 92/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: NCAA.com | Mobile Video: NCAA March Madness Live
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

(3) FLORIDA GATORS (14) N’WESTERN ST. DEMONS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mike McConathy
Record: 26-7 Record: 23-8
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southland
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -20.5 | O/U 143

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 28-10 in 12 NCAA Tournaments under Donovan and has reached at least the Elite Eight round in four of the last seven seasons (two national titles). UF is 4-0 all-time against Southland teams.
» Northwestern State, as a 14 seed, upset the three seed in its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. The Demons are 2-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
» Friday will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Northwestern State is 1-12 against SEC opponents under McConathy with nine-straight losses.
» UF is 51-7 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (25-6 in 2012-13).
» The Gators and Demons each have four starters that average in double figures.
» UF is 4-1 against top-25 opponents this season after going 3-5 against ranked adversaries last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams.
» Florida is 0-6 this season in single-digit decisions while Northwestern State is 8-4 in similarly close games.
» The Gators are ranked first nationally in scoring margin (+17.9), third in scoring defense (53.7), seventh in field goal defense (.377), 11th in field goal percentage (.481), 15th in three-pointers per game (8.4) and 23rd in assist-turnover ratio (1.33). Florida is also seventh nationally in fouling (14.1) and 213th in free throw percentage (.681).
» The Demons are ranked first nationally in scoring offense (81.0), fourth in steals (9.8), 24th in assists (15.5) and 25th in turnover margin (+3.0). Northwestern State is also considered the country’s fastest team, averaging 75.2 possessions per 40 minutes.

Read the rest of the Florida-Northwestern State gameday preview…

WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH

FLORIDA
The Gators are looking to get over the Elite Eight hump that has caught them in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments and their journey this time around begins with UF appropriately trying to exercise the Demons. Florida boasts one of the top defenses in the nation and should be able to contain Northwestern State as long as the players are turned in and adequately prepared to work their tails off on that end of the court.

» Senior forward Erik Murphy (#33) has stepped into the role of being Florida’s leading scorer as of late, averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game while hauling in 5.5 boards each contest and continuing to be the team’s best three-point shooter, draining treys at a .456 rate. After consecutive double-doubles in the SEC Tournament including a career 27-12 game against LSU, Murphy struggled over his final two games of the event combining to go just 5-for-18 from the field (1-for-9 from three), scoring only 15 points while registering 12 rebounds. The Gators need Murphy to find his stroke again.

NORTHWESTERN STATE
The Demons are back in the NCAA Tournament looking to pull off their second upset as a 14-seed over a three-seed. Coming into the game with the nation’s top offense, Northwestern State plays an up-tempo brand of basketball that Florida is not too unfamiliar with as of late. In fact, considering UF just came off playing Ole Miss, the Gators should be prepared for whatever the Demons throw at them.

» Senior F James Hublin (#33) matches up with Murphy as well as any player on Northwestern State. As the Demons’ best three-point shooter (.365), he is one of his team’s two main threats from downtown. Hublin averages 12.1 points and 5.9 boards per game but like Murphy has been cold as of late. He is a combined 7-for-22 from the floor (2-for-14 from three) over his last three games with just 11 points and 15 rebounds to show for it. When Hublin is on though, he can really shoot it. In the two games prior to his cold streak, he averaged 18.5 points and seven boards.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

Senior guard Kenny Boynton continues to make waves in his fourth year as a starter for the Gators. He is quickly climbing his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists and is already first in school history in five categories: three-point field goals made (329) and attempted (963), field goal attempts (1,642), career starts (138) and minutes played (4,564). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,995) and three-pointers among active players and is sixth all-time in SEC history in career three-pointers made.

Career scoring
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
2. Kenny Boynton – 1,995 points

Field goals made
1. Ronnie Williams – 772
4. Dwayne Schintzius – 695
5. Kenny Boynton – 655

Games played
1. Walter Hodge – 151
4. Chandler Parsons / Alex Tyus – 142
7. Kenny Boynton – 141 / Chris Richard / Dan Werner
8. Lee Humphrey – 136
9. Erik Murphy – 132

Free throws made
1. Ronnie Williams – 546
8. Dan Cross – 411
9. Kenny Boynton – 356

Assists
1. Erving Walker – 547
9. Taurean Green – 397
10. Kenny Boynton – 387

2013 NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET (South Region)
* As of Thursday evening at 11:59 p.m.

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