It’s been seven long years since the No. 1 Florida Gators reached the national title game, and three years for the No. 7 UConn Huskies. Both programs battle for a spot in the championship game in Saturday’s national semi-final at AT&T Stadium.
Florida head coach Billy Donovan makes his third appearance in the Final Four since his Gators won back-to-back national titles after defeating Ohio State back in 2007. The top seed overall, the Gators have been the team to beat all tournament and are currently riding a 30-game win streak.
The Huskies have re-discovered the national spotlight under second-year head coach Kevin Ollie, having last claimed a championship in 2011 after silencing upstart Butler.
Some of the early matchups to watch out for include UConn leading scorer and senior guard Shabazz Napier against Gators leader and junior guard Scott Wilbekin. As well as Florida’s Casey Prather versus the Huskies DeAndre Daniels, and the Gators Michael Frazier II pitted against UConn’s Ryan Boatright.
Napier has torched opposing defenses by scoring better than 23 points per game during the tournament, while Wilbekin’s reached the 20-point threshold twice in four games and recorded six steals.
Along with Napier, Daniels has powered the Huskies offense with his sharp shooting. For the tournament Daniels has knocked down his threes at 42 percent rate, and he especially torched No. 3 seed Iowa State for 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Sweet 16.
Prather has led the Gators in scoring all season, but he’s yet to have a breakout game in the tournament. His best effort came in the second round against Albany when Prather poured in 16 points and swatted away three shots coupled with two steals. Prather also picked up four steals in the Sweet 16 victory over No. 4 seed UCLA.
A sophomore and Tampa native, Frazier II has scored in double-digits in three straight games and is averaging four rebounds per game in the tournament.
Boatright has put together a very solid all-around tournament with averages of 13.8 points and three rebounds, and has compiled seven total steals.
TV Channel: TBS
Start Time: 6:05 p.m. EST
Online Stream Info: A live online stream can be watched at NCAA March Madness Live here.
Prediction: UConn over Florida, 65-60