Storyline: Rematch of a thrilling double-overtime win for BYU in last season’s NCAA tournament first round.
Headline name: BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. The national player of the year favorite scored 34 points in the win over Gonzaga in the Round of 32 and 32 points in the opening win over Wofford.
How to stop him: Florida coach Billy Donovan said no one talks about how good a passer Fredette is in setting up players like Jackson Emery and Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo. If the rest of the Gators are committed to stopping Fredette, they have to make sure the other BYU players are not that effective.
“Let’s see what they’ll do with Jimmer’s ball screens,’’ BYU coach Dave Rose said. “The rest of our team will react to that. If they’re going to come off that ball screen and just trap him and make him get the ball out of his hands, then we’re going to be playing with an advantage the whole night because we’ll have four offensive players attacking three defensive players.
“If they’re going to go underneath that thing, then Jimmer is probably going to get a couple of shots off,’’ Rose said. “So we all know, the whole team understands, what the first few minutes are.’’
Injury update: Florida’s Kenny Boynton injured his ankle in the win over UCLA. He was held out of practice but is good to go against the Cougars.
“We expect him to be fine,’’ Donovan said. “We just held him out to make sure he could move, cut, shoot and see if there was any lasting effect from the injury. There didn’t seem to be.’’
Glue guys: The Cougars may need some quality play from Logan Magnusson off the backboard or Stephen Rogers. But the Gators could do wonders against BYU if Patric Young (eight points, four rebounds) or or Erik Murphy (key 3-pointer) have games like they did against UCLA.
Who should win: Florida. The Gators have more overall depth and the potential for more production at various positions.
But...: Never underestimate Jimmer. BYU is playing with its most confidence since the Brandon Davies suspension for an honor code violation three weeks ago. BYU has now played seven games without Davies.
What should we be looking for: If Florida’s Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus control the boards, the Cougars are in trouble.
If Emery and Abouo are making 3s and Erving Walker and Boynton are not, the Cougars should be in good shape since we all know Jimmer is going to get his points.