Gators Looking for Ways to Slow Fredette

The Gators didn't do a terrible job of defending Jimmer Fredette in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament, and he still went for 37 points. Florida knows it has a stiff challenge in getting by the Cougars, with all of it centering on the play of Fredette. Even when opponents seemed to have the senior guard locked up on plays this season, Fredette is creative enough to make a play.

"They'll run some screening action and they'll set some pick and rolls for him, but he has the ability to take the ball and do what he needs to do even if people are away from him," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "He can shoot deep 3s, get to the lane and get fouled, make mid-range jump shots. If you start running people at him, there are enough personnel on the floor, which makes them a special team in my opinion, because those other guys play to their role and do it effectively."

When Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team, it thinned out the frontcourt players for BYU that have made an impact this year. Davies was averaging 6.2 rebounds per game, and the current team leader is Noah Hartsock at 5.9 rebounds a game. Hartsock can also step out and shoot from the perimeter, so he won't play in the post as much as Davies did.

The surprise performer in last year's game came as Michael Loyd, Jr. came off the Cougars' bench to pour in a career high 26 points. He graduated after last season.

Even without Davies, who four points and six rebounds in 19 minutes against Florida last season, Donovan still feels like the Gators are facing a BYU team that has improved.

"They're a better team than they were last year," Donovan said. "Jimmer certainly gets a lot of publicity and a lot of exposure, but it's really their whole team. We realize that he's certainly a hard guy to defend and stop, but they've got some other good players. Jackson is a terrific shooter, [Noah] Hartsock is a good low-post player and [Charles] Abouo gives them a solid presence around the basket. It's their whole team collectively, and I don't think you get to this place in the season like they've gotten to with it just being one guy. Fredette is certainly a huge part of it, but there are a lot of other good players too."

The plan for guarding Fredette will be similar to last season. The Gators will put Kenny Boynton on him to start the game, but they do have other options this season. Last year, Florida had only two guards on the roster in Boynton and Erving Walker, but this season, Scottie Wilbekin has been added to the mix.

Wilbekin has been trusted as a defensive stopper this season, most notably in the second half of the Tennessee game in Gainesville, when he locked down Volunteers guard Scottie Hopson.

Boynton should get the nod on Fredette for a majority of the game.

"I think that Kenny would start off on him," Donovan said. "That's what we did last year. I'm hopeful that we can move some different people on him throughout the course of the game."

For now, the Gators just hope to have Boynton on the court. He sprained his ankle against UCLA on Saturday when he took a three-pointer and landed on the foot of Bruins center Joshua Smith. Boynton was on the ground in pain and helped to the locker room. He reentered the game but couldn't contribute much because of the ankle.

He didn't practice on Monday, but Boynton is still expected to play.

"The first 24 hours after the game were going to be really important," Donovan said. "Often in these ankle situations, when you're traveling, you worry about swelling being the problem. That was a major issue, but we were able to get that under control. We fully expect him to play. He definitely has some discomfort, but not enough to prevent him from playing. I'll find out more as we get into Tuesday and Wednesday when he begins moving. He was concerned yesterday because if his ankle was really swollen on Sunday, it's going to take a lot longer for him to come back. They've been able to really minimize the swelling. As for pain, he's not on crutches or a boot. He's walking freely."

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