In the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament, the Florida Gators played host to Jimmer Fredette’s coming out party. The BYU guard announced himself on the national stage by scoring 37 points and leading his Cougars to a double overtime victory.
Jimmer and his No. 3 seed BYU will take on Florida again tonight but this time in the Sweet 16, and everyone knows what to expect.
Florida is the No. 2 seed, despite BYU having a stronger record, and is led by SEC Coach and Player of the Year, Billy Donovan and Chandler Parsons.
The last time Florida was in the Sweet 16 was in 2007, when the Gators won the whole thing.
Jimmer has scored over 30 points in the first two rounds of the tournament this year and is the favorite to be named the national player of year, so how will the Gators makes sure his season ends here?
Easy, don’t think you’re going to stop him. Jimmer has great touch and is going to score no matter what you do. But the Gators can light up the scoreboard too. The difference is they have several players who play Jimmer’s role, and that’s not a bad thing.
Florida junior guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton have great ball control, get into the paint with ease and can also knock down three-pointers at any moment. That’s two to BYU’s one.
They’re also good at picking your pocket and stealing the ball to lead their team on a fast break.
On the inside, the Gators have Vernon Macklin Alex Tyus controlling the paint and dominating boards, as well as Parsons roaming around, sneaking up to block shots and grab long rebounds.
BYU has Brandon Davies…oh wait; he was suspended meaning BYU’s entire hopes rest on Jimmer’s shoulders. The reasons Jimmer is scoring over 30 points a game is because he has to. He knows he has to knock it down because there is no one inside to grab the rebound for him.
Florida can struggle shooting from the outside at times, but Coach Donovan knows when to slow his team down and make them go inside for easy buckets. The Gators’ shooting droughts don’t last long.
Jimmer will certainly put on a show tonight against the Gators, but Florida has depth and the shooting touch to more than match him. The Gators are also the only team to not have a single player foul out of a game all season long, but they certainly know how to get opponents into trouble.
And with an inside presence that doesn’t match up against Macklin and Tyus, the Cougars will have no choice but to foul and foul often, allowing the Gators to back off Jimmer and focus on beating the Cougars.