2011 NCAA Tournament: (2) Florida vs. (8) Butler

By Adam Silverstein
March 26, 2011

Event: 2011 NCAA Tournament – Elite Eight
Location: New Orleans Arena – New Orleans, LA [Capacity: 18,500]
Time: 4:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS / CBSHD
Online Video: —->
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(2) FLORIDA GATORS (8) BUTLER BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Brad Stevens
Record: 29-7 Record: 26-9
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Horizon League
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -4; O/U 132

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is making its second-straight and 16th overall NCAA Tournament appearance. The Gators are 32-13 all-time in the event with two national titles, three championship game appearances and four Final Four appearances.
» UF is playing in the NCAA Regional Final (Elite Eight) for the fifth time in school history; they are 4-0 and have advanced to the Final Four on every such occasion. The No. 2 seed is their second-highest opening position in school history, and their .711 all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage is the highest in SEC history.
» Butler is making its second consecutive NCAA Regional Final appearance and fourth in the last nine years. The Bulldogs are 16-10 all-time in the event and have earned a postseason berth in 13 of the last 15 seasons.
» The Gators are 3-0 all-time in New Orleans Arena.
» Florida and Butler are meeting for the third time in the history of the two programs. The Gators are 2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs with both games played at neutral sites.
» The two teams share a pair of common opponents this season – Florida State and Xavier. UF defeated FSU 55-51 on Nov. 28 and beat XU 71-67 on Dec. 31, while Butler took down the former 67-64 on Dec. 23 and fell to the later 51-49 on Dec. 9.
» Donovan is 25-8 all-time in the tournament including two national championships and three Final Four appearances. His .758 winning percentage at the Big Dance is fourth among active coaches and second all-time among SEC coaches. He is also the youngest active coach to win a national title (age 40 in 2006).
» The Gators are 16-3 against the 2011 NCAA field and finished the regular season with the third outright SEC championship in school history (1989, 2007). Florida has captured five overall SEC titles including four under Donovan (2000, 2001, 2007, 2011).
» UF averages a +13.8-point margin of victory in 25 NCAA wins under Donovan.
» The Gators are 23-2 when holding an opponent under 70 points this year.
» Florida has won 21 of their last 25 games (and 13 of their last 15 – only losses coming to Kentucky) including 18 against RPI top 100 teams.
» The Gators are the only NCAA Division I team not to have a player foul out of a game this season. They lead the nation in fewest fouls committed per game (14.5).
» UF is 11-3 when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10+ shots from the field. He has moved into the top 20 in school history in scoring (1,435 points) and is the only active Division I player with over 1,300 points, 800 rebounds, 300 assists and 125 steals. He also became the sixth player in school history with 500+ career field goals.
» Florida bests Butler in three of four major national statistical categories. The Gators lead the Bulldogs in rebounding 37.5-34.9 (49th-177th), assists 13.7-12.5 (106th-190th) and field goal percentage .462-.446 (51st-122nd); however, Butler scores more points than Florida 72.8-71.5 (71st-98th). The Gators also lead the Bulldogs in scoring defense with 63.0-65.6 points per game, opponent field goal percentage .421-.430, rebound margin +5.6 to +3.9 and shot blocking 3.6-1.6. UF ranks 10th in RPI (.6353) and sixth in strength of schedule nationally compared to BU being 38th (.5853) and 77th, respectively.

[EXPAND Click to expand the rest of the Gameday Preview]LAST TIME OUT…

Florida and Butler first met in the opening round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament, when the Gators used a buzzer-beating runner (video) from guard Mike Miller in overtime to defeat the Bulldogs 69-68. Trying to defend the school’s first national championship, UF also went head-to-head with BU in the Sweet 16 of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, taking them down 65-57 on their way to a second-straight NCAA title.

KNOW THE OPPONENT

No. 8-seed Butler is the regular season and tournament champions out of the Horizon League. After putting together their sixth-straight 20-win season. The Bulldogs are 16-3 in the month of March in the last four years under Stevens and are currently on a 12-game winning streak. BU won its first two games of the tournament – against Old Dominion and Pittsburgh – in exciting fashion with game-winning shots to end the respective contests. Butler then beat up on Wisconsin 61-54 in the Sweet 16 to earn a match-up against Florida. The Bulldogs are 3-3 against teams ranked in the RPI top 25 with all three victories coming during the tournament.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Parsons…the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and a unanimous All-SEC First Team selection…who is averaging double-digit points (11.5) while leading the Gators with 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He is sporting a 22:8 assist-to-turnover ratio in the NCAA Tournament, which is much improved compared to his season average.
» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who was marred in a shooting slump but has rebounded and is still leading his team in scoring with 14.8 points per game while also leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.420) and three-point percentage (.394). Walker also leads Florida in both turnovers (85) and steals (40). He is shooting 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the field and 55.5 percent (10-of-18) from downtown in the NCAA Tournament. Walker is averaging a team-best 18.3 points in those games while also hitting 71.4 percent (15-of-21) of his attempts from the line.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but struggles with consistency. Boynton is shooting 38.1 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond the arc; he is second in scoring with 14.1 points per game and makes a team-high 82.1 percent of his free throws. He has scored in double figures in 15-straight games and has made at least one three-pointer in each of those contests.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage and is the only starter who does not score in double digits. He is averaging 8.9 points and 6.1 boards for the season but has stepped his game up in the tournament with averages of 11.7 points and 12 rebounds.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 58.4 percent from the floor as a starter this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17.5 minutes per game. Wilbekin leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33:1), while Young averages 3.4 points and 3.8 boards.
» Butler F Matt Howard…who averages team-highs in points (16.8) and rebounds (7.8) while playing 30.6 minutes each game. Howard also hits 44.0 percent of his threes and shoots at a 49.2 percent clip from the floor while connecting on 78.9 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe.
» Bulldogs G Shelvin Mack…who plays a team-most 31.7 minutes per game, averages 14.6 points each contest and dishes a team-high 3.6 assists per game.

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12 Comments

  1. Luke says:

    I don’t have a great feeling about this game, but hopefully the threes are dropping and our big men control the paint!

    • Luke- I accidentally marked your comment as “spam” at first due to a slip of the finger on my iPhone. The next time you comment, if you do not see it appear, please send me an e-mail to adam@onlygators.com and let me know. I will figure out a way to make it work. OK?

  2. Luke says:

    No sweat. I figured you were getting ready for the game.

  3. Basshole says:

    Let’s cut down the nets, Go Gators!

  4. Mr2Bits says:

    Two 9 point leads blown in both halfs and in OT we are looking like we have just given up playing defense. If we win this, it will be a miracle seeing as how Parsons and EWalk have been worthless today

  5. Luke says:

    Too bad Walker tried to be the hero with two aweful shots at the end of regulation and OT…

  6. Ken (CA) says:

    how disappointing. They absolutely blew that game today. So many chances and they played as badly as they have all season

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Our 3 point shooting and the refs calling 7 straight fouls on us allowed them to easily come back…….terrible way to go out but watching the UCLA and BYU game we knew the refs were not going to give us anything.

  7. John S. says:

    Damn, Walker and Boynton had their chances as did Parson. You have to hit your shots. Great Season guys.

  8. John S. says:

    They really took Parsons out of the game.

  9. GatorsAlumLA says:

    I’m in a glass case of emotion.

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