(3) Florida vs. (11) Minnesota
(3) Florida Gators
Through 20 minutes of play it looked like the Northwestern State Demons belonged on the same court as the Gators. They had their moments and trailed by just eight at the half. However, in the second period the Gators’ guards stayed out of foul trouble and the big men dominated inside as they ran away with a 79-47 victory. Erik Murphy and Patric Young combined to score 34 points and grab 17 rebounds, punishing the Demons on the inside. In the Round of 32, they’re going to have a much more physical match up against Trevor Mbakwe. He’s a load inside, but it was the Golden Gophers’ guard play that really shined against a hobbled UCLA team. It will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of the Gators, one of the nation’s best defensive teams. The lower the score, the more the game favors the Gators.
(11) Minnesota Golden Gophers
After the way the Golden Gophers closed out the regular season, they needed a win in the worst way, no matter who it was against. They couldn’t have asked for a much better match-up than the banged up UCLA Bruins, who sorely missed Jordan Adams offensively and dealt with foul trouble all game long. The Golden Gophers exploded offensively for 48 points in the second half and eliminated the Bruins 83-63. They were a sizzling 9-16 from three point range. Andre Hollins scored a game-high 28, while Austin Hollins had 16 and Joe Coleman had 14. The Golden Gophers very well could end up in the Sweet 16 if they play at the same level against the Gators. The Gators looked most vulnerable on Friday when their guards were on the bench in foul trouble, which should factor into the Golden Gophers’ game plan.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Florida. The Gators’ defense will bring the Golden Gophers back down to reality.