» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Air Force with the lone game played in 1963 as part of the Gator Bowl Tournament. UF took a 74-68 victory in that game and is 3-1 all-time against service academies.
» The Gators are 9-2 all-time in the OBBC and will be participating in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years.
» Four of UF’s regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its 10 opponents under 50 points but has given up 61 or more points in three of its last six games (1-2).
» UF is 33-3 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (8-2 in 2012-13).
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is third nationally in scoring defense (51.3), eighth in scoring margin (+20.9), 13th in field goal percentage defense (.359) and 20th in rebound margin (+8.7).
» The Gators are ninth nationally in fouling, committing 13.6 per game, and 111th nationally in assists, dishing just 14.0 per game.
» All five Falcons starters are seniors.
» Air Force seventh nationally in three-pointers per game (9.1) and turnover margin (+6.1), 15th nationally in three-point shooting (.492) and 28th in assists (16.5).
» The Falcons are 199th in rebounding margin (-0.1) and 277th in free throw shooting, connecting on just 64.6 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
» Air Force has eight players that have attempted 10 or more treys already this season.
Odds: Florida -3; O/U 149 Note: The line has fluctuated slightly since it was initially released, dropping as low as -2 but as high as -4. You can bet on College Basketball at BetUS! The Gators are currently the second-most wagered-on team of the day and could cover for the spread for the third-straight game in the tournament.
HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida is making its second-straight and 16th overall NCAA Tournament appearance. The Gators are 31-13 all-time in the event with two national titles, three championship game appearances and four Final Four appearances.
» UF has advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinal for the seventh time in school history. The No. 2 seed is their second-highest opening position in school history, and their .705 all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage is the highest in SEC history in front of Kentucky (.695) and Auburn (.600).
» BYU is making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cougars are 14-28 all-time in the event and have earned a berth in eight of the last 11 seasons. The No. 3 seed is their highest in school history; they earned the same rank in 1980.
» Florida and BYU are meeting for the fourth time in the history of the two programs. The Cougars are 3-0 all-time against the Gators with all games being played at neutral sites. Before squaring off in 2010, the teams had not met since 1991 and prior to that 1959. BYU’s win last year in the tournament was their first since 1993.
» The two teams share the UCLA Bruins as a common opponent during the season. Florida defeated UCLA 73-65 on Saturday, and BYU lost to them 86-79 back on Dec. 18.
» Donovan is 24-8 all-time in the tournament including two national championships and three Final Four appearances. His .750 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 15-3 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 +14.0-point margin of victory in 24 NCAA wins under Donovan. They have not allowed a team to connect on more than six threes in the last seven games.
» The Gators are 23-2 when holding an opponent under 70 points this year.
» Florida has won 20 of their last 24 games (and 12 of their last 14 – only losses coming to Kentucky) including 17 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 10-3 when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10+ shots from the field. He has moved into the top 20 in school history in scoring (1,419 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.
» Brigham Young senior guard Jimmer Fredette holds the school’s career, single-season and single-game scoring records.
» BYU bests Florida in three of four major national statistical categories. The Cougars lead the Gators in points per game 81.6-71.5 (8th-98th), rebounding 38.7-37.5 (16th-49th) and assists per contest 14.5-13.7 (65th-106th); however, Florida shoots better as a team from the field .462-.452 (51st-91st). The Gators also lead the Cougars in scoring defense with 62.7-67.4 points per game and rebound margin +5.9 to +3.0. Brigham Young, on the other hand, turns the ball over less per game 10.9-12.3 and forces more miscues 14.4-12.5. UF ranks 10th in RPI (.6353) and sixth in strength of schedule nationally compared to BYU being fifth (.6462) and 22nd, respectively.
Florida and BYU met in the opening game in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Gators had opportunities to win the contest at the end of regulation and conclusion of the first overtime, but Parsons missed both shots and the Cougars pulled away during the second overtime to earn a hard-fought 99-92 victory. Fredette led the way for his squad with 37 points including two treys in the second OT (he only hit one the rest of the game), helping his team outscore UF 18-11 in the final five minutes.
KNOW THE OPPONENT
Coming out of the MWC, No. 3-seed BYU defeated No. 14-seed Wofford 74-66 in first round action before thrashing No. 11-seed Gonzaga 89-67 in the round of 32. Fredette finished 7-for-12 from downtown and 11-of-23 from the floor; though he had trouble in the first half, he found his stride later in the game. The Cougars finished the regular season as a top-10 team and co-MWC regular season champions, splitting the honor with San Diego State. BYU is 9-2 against teams ranked in the RPI top 50.
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 (11.4) while leading the Gators with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He is sporting a 15:4 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 14.7 points per game while also leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.421) and three-point percentage (.393). Walker also leads Florida in both turnovers (82) and steals (39). He is shooting 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from the field and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from downtown in the NCAA Tournament. Walker is averaging a team-best 19.5 points in those games while also hitting 80 percent (12-of-15) of his attempts from the line.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but was struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is shooting 38.2 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 14.0 points per game and makes a team-high 82.4 percent of his free throws. He has scored in double figures in 14-straight games and has made at least one three-pointer in each of those contests.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 58.1 percent from the floor as a starter this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» 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 averages just 8.6 points and 5.7 boards each game.
» 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 3.5 points and 3.8 boards.
» BYU’s Fredette…the 2011 MWC Player of the Year and a unanimous All-MWC First Team selection…who is averaging a team-high 28.8 points in 35.5 minutes per game while also leading his squad with 4.3 assists each contest. Fredette shoots 45.5 percent from the field, an astounding 40.6 percent from beyond the arc and also hits 89.1 percent of his free throw attempts.
» Cougars G Jackson Emery…who is second on the team to Fredette in points (12.6), assists (2.7) and free throw shooting (82.9 percent). He averages 32.5 minutes each game and hits 35.9 percent from downtown.
» BYU F Noah Hartsock…who is the team’s leading rebounder with Brandon Davies on suspension. Hartsock grabs 5.9 boards per contest and is the team’s best three-point shooter on average with 44.6 percent accuracy. He scores 8.6 points per game, shoots 50.4 percent from the field and makes 82.1 percent of his shots from the charity stripe.
Tournament Team Previews from ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi:
» Florida basketball is making their 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, their first since winning the second of back-to-back National Championships in 2007.
» The Gators have reached four Final Fours, three of which have come under head coach Billy Donovan this century (2000, 2006, 2007).
» Florida and BYU have met twice, with the Gators falling to the Cougars both times. The teams have never met in the postseason and have not squared off since 1991.
» The only two current Florida players with NCAA Tournament and Final Four experience are senior forward Dan Werner and redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin. Werner was a bench player for the Gators’ 2007 National Championship team, while Macklin played for Georgetown during the same Final Four.
KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior forward Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in nine of his last 11 games and has four double-doubles on the season. He has also helped run the point and dish the ball while surpassing over 1,000 career points on March 11.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 14-4 when the redshirt junior center finishes in double figures and 7-8 when he does not.
» The dynamic duo of freshman guard Kenny Boynton and sophomore point guard Erving Walker…who combined for 42 points in the Gators’ last outing and are first and second, respectively, on the team in scoring. Boynton is eight treys shy (67) of breaking the school’s freshman three-point shooting record.
» Junior F Alex Tyus…who returned to his dominating ways with a season-high 24 points in the SEC Tournament against Auburn before struggling in the quarterfinals against Mississippi State. Tyus also reached the 1,000-point plateau this season.
» BYU guard Jimmer Fredette…who is easily the team’s most explosive player, averaging 21.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. He shoots almost 45 percent from downtown and hits 90 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. Fredette is the country’s 12th-leading scorer.
» The Cougars’ trio of other double-digit scorers – Jackson Emery, Tyler Haws and Jonathan Tavernari…who combine to score 34.2 of the team’s 83.0 points per game.
» Florida has won 12-straight NCAA Tournament games (last loss in 2005). They can tie Duke (which won 13-straight between 1991-93) with a win Thursday against BYU.
» The Gators are 22-7 in the NCAA Tournament under Donovan and 29-12 all-time.
» Florida is 5-6 all-time against the Mountain West Conference and 0-2 versus BYU, losing in 1959 and 1991.
» The Gators have not played in Oklahoma City, OK, since 1995, but the team is 2-0 all-time in the city.
» With 21 regular season victories, Florida reached 20+ wins for the 12th consecutive season. The Gators are only one of six schools in the nation to accomplish this feat every year since the 1998-99 season.
» Though they fell to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, Florida is 13-5 when out-rebounding the opposition this season.
» The Gators have made a three-pointer in a school-record 611 consecutive games beginning Jan. 11, 1992.
» BYU lost their sole game against a ranked opponent this season, falling 83-81 to then-No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 27. Florida is 2-5 against ranked opponents, defeating then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 27 and then-No. 17 Tennessee on Feb. 23.
» The Cougars have the most NCAA Tournament appearances in the event’s history (24) without reaching the Final Four.
» Falling in the first round each of the last three years, BYU has lost seven-straight NCAA Tournament games.
» However, the Cougars are playing better than they have in years, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (83 points per game) and scoring margin (17.8 points), while leading the country in free throw shooting (78.6 percent) and placing third in three-point efficiency (41.9 percent).
Florida Gators basketball (21-12, 9-7 SEC) has earned a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, their first in three seasons. Announced during the NCAA Selection Show live on CBS Sunday night, Florida – a No. 10 seed – will face the No 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars (29-5, 13-3 MWC) of the Mountain West Conference in first-round action in Oklahoma City, OK, on Thursday.
The Gators, trying for their 13th-straight NCAA Tournament victory, are placed in the West region and could advance to face No. 2-seed Kansas State or No. 15-seed North Texas in the second round on Sat., March 20. Syracuse earned the region’s No. 1 seed.
Head coach Billy Donovan: ”We’re very, very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’m most excited for our players having a chance to experience this, for most of them this is something they haven’t been through yet. They’ve worked so hard from day one, and it’s great to see them rewarded.
Junior forward Chandler Parsons: “It was a stressful 48 hours. We don’t want to go and play one game, we want to prove we’re deserving of being there.”
NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Dan Guerrero: “It’s not necessarily about how you finish, but it’s what you do during the course of the year.”
Earning a No. 10-seed indicates that UF was not as close to the bubble as many speculated. That or Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive had plenty of pull. Florida, along with Minnesota, Utah State and UTEP earned bids while Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois were among the final cuts.
H/t Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel for the quotes.
Though he is in Gainesville, FL, through the new year helping the Florida Gators prepare for the 2010 Sugar Bowl in what will be his last game as the team’s defensive coordinator, new Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong has made a big splash hiring. On Tuesday, Strong tabbed former UNLV Rebels head coach Mike Sanford as his offensive coordinator.
Sanford, who was Florida head coach Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator with the Utah Utes from 2003-04, helped lead that team to back-to-back Mountain West Conference Championships and a victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Under Sanford, quarterback Alex Smith won MWC Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Hiring Sanford lends credence to the belief that Strong wishes to feature an offense similar to that of the Gators’ in recent years. Now all the first-time head coach must do is recruit the talent needed to fill the necessary roles.