Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Notebook; Efficient Wolves vs. Gators' Defense: What Gives?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Notebook; Efficient Wolves vs. Gators' Defense: What Gives?

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

ARLINGTON, TEXAS | Florida's defense has been excellent this season.

However, the Gators haven't seen an offense like Michigan's.

No. 3 seed Florida (29-7) will try and slow down arguably the most efficient offense in the country when it faces fourth-seeded Michigan in the South Region final at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.

The Wolverines (29-7) lead the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55) and fewest turnovers per game (9.3). Michigan is also ranked sixth nationally in field-goal percentage (48.6).

Sophomore guard Trey Burke, the Big Ten Player of the Year, leads UM with 18.9 points and 6.8 assists per game.

"Clearly from an offensive efficiency standpoint, they may be the best in the country," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "They've got a guy in the back court, Burke, that's just terrific."

Burke scored all of his 23 points in the second half of Michigan's comeback win over No. 1 seed Kansas 87-85 in overtime. He connected on a 30-foot 3-pointer with four seconds left to tie the game. Burke also recorded 10 assists with four turnovers in 44 minutes.

"He does a great job getting into the lane," Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "Once he gets there, he can finish or find the shooters they have."

The Gators will counter with perhaps the best defense Michigan has faced. UF is third in the country in scoring defense (53.7 points per game) and ranks seventh nationally in field-goal percentage defense (37.9).

There is no team in the Big Ten that ranks as high as UF does in those two categories.

"All I'm looking at is the numbers," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "People are scoring in the 40s and 50s on them. We're having trouble finding spots we can attack."

QUICK TURNAROUND

Both teams had a late night following Friday's games. The Gators didn't finish their media responsibilities until roughly 1 a.m. Saturday. UF then had to be back at Cowboys Stadium around noon. Center Patric Young, a former Providence School standout, said the team was allowed to sleep in until around 10:30 a.m.

Donovan said the turnaround is tough, but beats the alternative. …

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