Florida and Marquette Prepared to Run

If you blink, you might miss something. That's the pace that Thursday night's game is expected to be played. Florida and Marquette want to run up and down the court in Phoenix, just as they have done all season. It's right in the comfort zone of each team. Donovan wants to make sure his team is ready to get up the court on offense and back on defense, or it could be a long night.

"They're going to play fast and they're going to attack you," Billy Donovan said. "They're great in transition, they get it out quick."

Marquette played two SEC opponents this season. They dropped a 67-59 decision at LSU in mid December before losing by 17 points at home to Vanderbilt in late December. Donovan said he wasn't focused on that film because of the different style of basketball that his team plays.

"We play a different want and our personnel is different," Donovan said. "I'll watch film more so than anything else. What I've tried to do is watch their most recent games and get prepared like we would for any other game."

The Golden Eagles are similar in that they want to get up and down the floor. They can do so at every position on the court. Marquette starts three guards, just like Florida, and the two starting forwards are 6-7 and 6-6 respectively.

"The one thing is they've got great speed and quickness," Donovan said. "People may look at their size and say they're undersized, but I disagree. I think they're a great offensive rebounding team. They're an attack team and they push the ball very hard.

"Part of the reason they're so effective offensively is, not only can they shoot and have a great player in Crowder, but they do get a lot of balls back and create a lot of steals. They get out in transition. I think the game will be played at a very fast pace."

Jae Crowder is what makes their style of play work. The senior is versatile enough to affect the game in every facet. Against Murray State, Crowder scored 17 points, pulled down 13 rebounds, hit one three pointers, accounted for three steals, blocked two shots and turned the ball over just once.

He fills the stat sheet among the best in the country.

"He impacts the game maybe more so than any other player in the country, in every facet," Donovan said. "He's a tremendous offensive rebounder. He is a great defender. He comes up with loose basketballs, deflections. He is a great outlet passer to start the break. He has incredible stamina with the way he can run up and down the floor. He shoots 3's— he puts it down. And maybe the most underrated part of his game is he's a phenomenal passer. He can impact the game in almost every possible way. I love the way he competes."

On defense, Marquette plays the same style. They love to add press and try to force the team to have a quick tempo. Because of that, the play of senior point guard Erving Walker is even more important.

Their press is active and creates fast break opportunities.

"They apply a lot of pressure," Donovan said. "Sometimes they pick up half court and sometimes full court. They're great with their hands and create a lot of deflections. They create a lot of loose balls and keep a lot of balls alive on the backboard.

"Taking care of the basketball in any game becomes important, but with the way they play, it will be equally important because they manufacture a lot of points with tips and steals. When they get out in transition with their speed, they're terrific at attacking the basket."

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