Friday, March 28, 2014

NCAA Tournament, Day 5, Part 2

Florida 79 - UCLA 68

UCLA put up a really good fight, but in the end Florida was too good and too deep. Despite some substantial foul trouble in their front line, the Gators used a balanced attack to keep the Bruins at bay. Florida imposed their will at both ends, shooting 50% from the field at one end, and holding UCLA to 16.7% from behind the arc at the other end.

But again, give UCLA credit. Florida started the game running, gunning, and hitting from behind the arc. Michael Frazier had three 3-pointers before we were halfway through the first half, but UCLA never let the game get away from them. Whether it was through stops or shots, they managed to hang around right until the very end. Unfortunately, they were never able to put enough of either together to take the lead in the second half.

One note: even though Florida has now reached their fourth straight Elite Eight berth, they do not yet have a Final Four appearance during this stretch.

Arizona 70 - San Diego State 64

This game was exactly what was expected on paper: two terrific defensive teams making each other's life miserable on the offensive end. The expectation was Arizona would eventually pull away, thanks to their superior offense, but that never really happened.

The main reason for that was their main scorer, guard Nick Johnson, was 0-fer on his first 10 shots from the field. That all changed with just under 3:00 remaining in the second half, when Wildcats point guard TJ McConnell stole the ball. In the loose ball scrum, McConnell got the ball to a teammate, who passed it to Johnson, who made a layup. Finally untracked, Johnson proceded to score the next 13 Arizona points, and 15 of their final 17 (mostly at the free throw line).

Finally, I found this interesting:

1-seed Arizona will face 2-seed Wisconsin on Saturday for a berth in the Final Four.

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