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Dick Vitale talks Florida-Wisconsin, Mike White as coach of the year

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

23

March

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale said the Florida Gators have had an impressive season and NCAA Tournament, but tomorrow's Sweet 16 matchup against Wisconsin could pose some matchup problems.
Vitale said fourth-seeded UF's defense was shockingly good in its second-round domination of Virginia last weekend in Orlando.

"Virginia's a really good basketball team," Vitale said. "It was a blowout. It was unbelievable."

It happened, of course, with historically good defense; the 39 points Virginia scored were the fewest UF has ever allowed in the Tournament. And it happened without much production from leading scorer KeVaughn Allen.

"They're going to need him big-time in their next matchup against Wisconsin," Vitale said. "Obviously that's going to be a real battle, because Wisconsin executes."

The Badgers come into the East Regional semifinal with experience; this is their fourth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.

And they have enough size to give UF problems. Four contributors (including three starters) are at least 6-8. So far, the Gators have been able to advance in the Tournament without missing center John Egbunu, the USF transfer who is out with a torn ACL. Wisconsin will challenge that hole.

"I think this game could be a game where the loss of the kid, Egbunu, during the season at the end of the year could hurt them. They're so good inside..."

But UF has one big reason to be optimistic - second-year coach Mike White.

Vitale said White has done a fantastic job so far; if he were naming five coach of the year finalists today, White would be on the list.

"Mike White has been a great hire," said Vitale, who was speaking to promote Allstate's Bracket Predictor. "Replacing Billy Donovan wasn't an easy task - not only with all his winning, his personality, well respected, well liked. To come into that job, I'm impressed with him."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:12pm]

    

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