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(3) Marquette vs. (7) Florida Preview
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On March 19, 2012 @ 8:44 am In All,NCAA | No Comments
(3) Marquette Golden Eagles
In a game that featured two of the best guards in the tournament in Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Doom and Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, defense ended up being the key. The Golden Eagles held the Racers to 31 percent shooting from the field, 19 percent from three and forced them into 16 turnovers as they eliminated them 62-53. Johnson-Odom won the individual battle against Canaan, scoring 17 to Canaan’s 16 on 17 shots. It was the versatile Jae Crowder who starred for the Golden Eagles, though, scoring 17 points and collecting 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the tournament. The Golden Eagles’ approach won’t have to change much against a similar Florida Gators team in the Sweet 16. The Gators are perimeter oriented as well without much low post scoring. They’ve proven that they aren’t completely reliant on the three, although it still is their best weapon. The Golden Eagles will have to really defend and look to do their best at keeping Brad Beal, Kenny Boyton and Erving Walker in front of them. A big game from Davante Gardner could be needed.
(7) Florida Gators
You knew the Gators weren’t going to have another bad shooting game from beyond the arc. After struggling with their long-range stroke to start the tournament, the Gators regained their touch. They knocked down 10 triples, just like they did on average during the regular season, while making easy work of Norfolk State 84-50. The Gators started the game on a 29-6 run and never looked back. The Spartans just had no answer for their guards. Erving Walker, Kenny Boyton and Bradley Beal did as they pleased, combining to score 49 points. The Gators’ defense was simply stifling, keeping the Spartans to under 30 percent shooting from the field and sub-20 percent shooting from distance. The Golden Eagles are a major step up in competition. They’ll notice the difference most defensively, where they won’t be able to overwhelm them with their talent like they did the Spartans. The Gators live and die with their guard play, but their big men will need to impact the game as well if they’re going to stay alive and move onto the Elite Eight.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Marquette. This game could come down to the wire and go either way. We’re going to put our faith in Marquette’s defense just being a little bit better, which will be enough for them to move on.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!
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