Florida Gators 83, BYU Cougars 74 (OT), New Orleans Regional
Florida is in the Elite 8, and I still don't really feel the least bit contrite about them not deserving that #2 seed in the Southeast Region. Even after three wins in the NCAA Tournament, Florida is still ranked 16th in Pomeroy, worst of all the two seeds and still placed behind ALL of the three and four seeds. They're in the Elite Eight because no one else in their half of the regional bracket has been good enough to wrest victory away from them, even though UCLA and now BYU both had their chances.
Still, this was quite a win. It dissolved into a chaotic matchup involving 71 three pointers and FIFTY MISSES, but it was quite the win.
Based on our preview, this one went pretty much to script. Florida dominated the interior by getting the baskets inside, but nearly undid themselves with over relying on the three pointer (34 three point attempts to 31 two point attempts?) and getting all sweaty palms on their free throws (UF was 10 for 22 from the line; BYU went 14 for 16). Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the national championship aspirations of the Gators.
But while the offense nearly threw away the game, the defense of the Gators came through huge. Jimmer Fredette might have made Gus Johnson and Reggie Miller giddy with that crazy thirty footer, but he did not have his best night, nailing only an additional two out of 15 threes and needing 29 points to score 32. For the good of the team, Fredette has been dogged with poor shot selection his entire career, and it caught up with him tonight.
Despite that inefficient production, Jimmer was still the best option. The rest of his teammates shot 14 for 42, and could not do anything inside or outside (35% on twos, 32% on threes) as none of Fredette's teammates could get into double digit scoring.
Florida, by contrast, relied on a balanced attack to eventually put away BYU in an extra session. Alex Tyus led the way with a career night: 19 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, and a blocked shot, yowzers. Kenny Boynton didn't have a great shooting night from downtown, but piled up 15 points and 5 assists. Ditto Chandler Parsons and Erving Walker, who both managed to get 16 points apiece.
Florida moves onto take on Butler in the Elite 8. For more reaction from Florida fans, head over to Alligator Army; for BYU reaction, head over to Vanquish the Foe.