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No. 2 Florida takes on No. 8 Butler for trip to Elite Eight

A Butler team that defeated No. 1 Pittsburgh takes on Florida, who knocked out No. 3 BYU, in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

March 25, 2011
  • Butler forward Matt Howard, undersized for a center at 6-foot-8, is fouled as he pulls down a rebound between Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer (30) and guard Josh Gasser (21) on Friday night.
Butler forward Matt Howard, undersized for a center at 6-foot-8, is fouled… (Derick E. Hingle / US Presswire )

Southeast regional

No. 2 Florida (29-7) vs. No. 8 Butler (26-9), New Orleans, 1:30 p.m. PDT, Channel 2

Florida can't be as sloppy offensively as it was against BYU if it wants to beat Butler. The Gators need to be patient against a smart Butler team on both ends of the court. Offensively, the Gators have more size up front and need to take advantage, not jack up 3-pointers.

Butler runs a lot of screens, and Florida especially has to worry about Bulldogs guard Shelvin Mack from beyond the arc. Look for Butler's guards to have success applying defensive pressure against Florida's backcourt. Mack, Ronald Nored and Shawn Vanzant, a Florida native (from Tampa), should be able to force some turnovers from Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton.

Walker, especially, has to play smart basketball; he makes too many ill-advised trips into the paint and can be prone to wild passes. When he plays under control, Florida is difficult to beat. Keep an eye on the boards.

Florida's size helps it outrebound opponents by 5.8 per game, and the Gators need that type of advantage in this one. But Butler's Matt Howard, who is 6-8, always seems to find a way to neutralize bigger opponents, and he has cut down on his fouls this season.

As for those who say Butler prefers a slow pace, each team averages 72.1 points per game. Still, Butler probably wouldn't mind if this game is in the low 60s because the Bulldogs generally are more patient on offense than Florida.

— rivals.com

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