Florida, BYU has sense of familiarity
When Florida and BYU meet tonight at 7:27 in the NCAA Southeast Regional semifinals, the Gators and Cougars will have a level of familiarity with each other.
The two met in last year's NCAA first round game in Oklahoma City, a double overtime win for BYU. And although each is different from last season, there's still enough of a familiarity to give each a sense of what they'll face in each other.
"They're a better team than when we played them a year ago,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "And we realize going into the game that
we're going to have to play a lot better than we did a year ago, and in the game we played a year ago, we didn't win. I think coming out of that game we can probably at least have a feel of size, athleticism. There's a little bit of familiarity in terms of style of play, and I do think at this time in the NCAA Tournament where a lot of times there's not a lot of familiarity because you're seeing opponents that maybe you see on TV and don't know a lot about. So we're playing against a terrific team. We're excited about the opportunity to play and advance to this point in time, and we're playing against a team that you win 30-plus games in this day and age in college basketball, they're very good.''
BYU coach Dave Rose said he sees improvement in both teams from last season, but it's the way the Gators play down the stretch that stands out to him.
"I think they're more comfortable in how they're going to close out games,'' Rose said. "That's the thing that impresses me the most about Florida is their ability late in games to get good shots from the players that are capable of making their shots. It's not like they're trying to just hope their way into a basket to win. And then defensively I think that they're a lot more engaged in their defensive game plan as
a group. So they're not looking for as many individual plays to try to finish out games.''