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NCAA Final Four preview: Connecticut vs. Florida

The senior-laden Gators have not lost since a Dec. 2 defeat to the battle-tested Huskies.

April 04, 2014|Chris Dufresne
  • Center Patric Young (4) and point guard Scottie Wilbekin (5 ) form a stellar inside-out combination for Florida. They are two of four seniors in the starting lineup.
Center Patric Young (4) and point guard Scottie Wilbekin (5 ) form a stellar… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )

A look at the NCAA tournament semifinal between the seventh-seeded Connecuticut Huskies (30-8) and the first-seeded and top-ranked Florida Gators (36-2).

When: Today, 3:09 p.m. TV: TBS

Breakdown: Florida is the only No. 1-seeded team to survive the two-week tournament gantlet and got to Texas by defeating four teams with a total seeding number of 40: Albany (16), Pittsburgh (9), UCLA (4) and Dayton (11). The Gators' last defeat was Dec. 2 against Connecticut.

The Gators are led by four seniors: Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete. Prather's 13.8 points-per-game scoring average leads the team, but four players are averaging double figures.

Wilbekin is the team's best on-ball defender and will probably draw the assignment of stopping Connecticut's Shabazz Napier.

Florida is one of the nation's best defensive teams, giving up only 57.6 points a game.

Connecticut needed overtime to beat St. Joseph's in its first game but followed with impressive wins against No. 2 Villanova, Iowa State (3) and Michigan State (4). Connecticut has made 81 of 92 free throws in the tournament.

The Huskies are led by Napier, who played 27 minutes in Connecticut's 2011 title-game win over Butler in Houston.

Second-year Coach Kevin Ollie, who is 4-0 in his first NCAA tournament, said Napier is a coach on the floor. "He's taken ownership of his team," Ollie said.

But Florida Coach Billy Donovan said Friday that Connecticut is not one-dimensional.

"They're a whole team," he said. Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels averages 13 points while guard Ryan Boatright contributes 12.

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