Sweet Rematch and Looking for Sweet Revenge

If Florida was worried about not being focused on their opponent after making the Sweet 16, all of that went out the window when BYU won Saturday night. The Gators are in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and now will face the team that knocked them out of the tournament in 2010 in a double overtime thriller.

Jimmer Fredette is a name Gators fans would like to forget, but they are going to hear more of that name in the next week than ever. Fredette is arguably the best player in college basketball this year, and maybe for the last several years. He is also target No. 1 for revenge week for the Gators.

Fredette is averaging a mind boggling 29 points a game this year, 3.5 rebounds and four assists per game in leading BYU back to the tournament and a No. 3 seed.

While Fredette is as good as ever, the rest of this BYU team is better than the one that beat the Gators a year ago, albeit a little different. Due to suspension, BYU will attack Florida with what amounts to a two-guard, three-forward offense. They will have the height advantage in the backcourt with Fredette and fellow starting guard Jackson Emery standing 6-2 and 6-3, respectively. Emery averages 12.5 points a game. Florida counters with guards Erving Walker at 5-8, and Kenny Boynton listed at 6-2. B.T. Walker and Boynton average more than 14 points a game and their frantic play helps spur the transition game and the offense in general.

In the guard matchup a year ago, Fredette (37) and Jackson scored 47 points while Boynton and Walker combined for Boynton (27) and Walker combined for 39, a pretty even draw.

Any advantage that BYU may have in the backcourt both in size and in scoring has a chance to be drastically offset by the height and skill advantage of the Gators frontcourt. Florida will start a frontcourt lineup of Chandler Parsons (6-10, Alex Tyus (6-8), and Vernon Macklin (6-10) and all returned from starting a year ago. BYU will counter with Kyle Collinsworth (6-6), Charles Abouo (6-5), and Noah Hartsock (6-8). Hartsock is the lone starter returning from a year ago.

Hartsock leads the Cougar trio averaging 8.5 points a game and the trio totals 21-6 points per game. The Florida frontcourt is led by Chandler Parsons (11.4), while Vernon Macklin is right behind with (11.3) and Tyus throws in (8.6) points to total 31.3 points per game.

Boynton's ankle injury incurred during the UCLA game and how he heals this week will be big because he will be left to defend Fredette for a big part of the game. However, Florida freshman guard Scottie Wilbekin (6-2) will now have a very important role and will undoubtedly be called in to help with the defense on Fredette. Wilbekin's late season play on defense has been a boon for the Gators and his harassing style may be something that was missing from last season's game. Florida was dreadfully thin in the backcourt last season.

The bench is something the Gators were lacking a year ago. They only played eight players in the double overtime game against BYU and only six players played more than 11 minutes in the game. Florida has seven players averaging more than 17 minutes a game now and sophomore forward Erik Murphy (6-9) is averaging just over 11. Wilbekin and freshman Forward Patric Young (6-9) have seen their time on the court increase dramatically during the season.

Murphy has stepped his game up in the post-season and he and Young give the Gators a deep front court and a lot more size than BYU can really counter with.

On paper for Florida, this game seems all about stopping Jimmer Fredette and then maximizing their advantage inside. Parsons, Macklin, and Tyus totaled 42 points inside a year ago and the advantage should be greater this time around.

While the Gators may celebrate a trip to the Sweet 16 for a half a day, they should also be hungry to settle a score from a year ago.

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