Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Paced Sweet 16 Matchup for Gators; UF and Marquette Play Similar Styles; Look for the Points to Add Up

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Paced Sweet 16 Matchup for Gators; UF and Marquette Play Similar Styles; Look for the Points to Add Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

PHOENIX | Get ready to be entertained - if you can stay up.

Seventh-seeded Florida and No. 3 seed Marquette might put on a show tonight in the West Region semifinals at the US Airways Arena, with tip-off scheduled for 10:17. Both teams are expected to push the pace of the game, creating a fast-paced 40 minutes of basketball as each attempts to advance to Saturday's Elite Eight matchup with either Michigan State or Louisville.

Florida and Marquette are similar in size and style. Each averages roughly 76 points a game and is ranked among the nation's top-30 teams in scoring offense. The teams also have remarkably close averages in rebounding, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and assists. As such, Marquette was installed as a 1.5-point favorite, the smallest margin in any Sweet 16 matchup.

"I think the game will certainly be a fast game," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who is 27-9 with the Gators in the NCAA Tournament.

"With the way we play and I think the way that they play, conditioning probably in both of our practices is a premium."

While the Gators have a slight size advantage - no Marquette starter is over 6-foot-7 - the Golden Eagles present a physical challenge.

Senior standout forward Jae Crowder is 6-6, but weighs 235 pounds. He's the Big East Conference Player of the Year and is averaging 17.6 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.

"He impacts the game maybe more so than any other player in the country in every facet," Donovan said. "He can impact the game in almost every possible way.

"The thing that's so impressive with Crowder is how many minutes he can stay on the floor at the intensity level he plays at."

Marquette also has a proven scorer in guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who is averaging 18.5 points a game. He'll try to take advantage of UF's transition defense. …

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