Louisville Defense Presents Challenges for UF

The explosive Florida offense will have another challenge on its hands Saturday. Louisville center Gorgui Deing was a dominant force in the Cardinals' win over Michigan State while blocking seven shots and pulling down nine rebounds. His defensive presence creates a problem when the Florida guards try to penetrate into the lane.

"We know you can't go in there and throw something up because he'll probably block it," Florida point guard Erving Walker said. "Great shot blockers, we learned we have to keep them away from the rim, space them out and get the ball inside to Patric (Young) and let him attack them or (Erik Murphy) on spread, pick and rolls, hopefully get open 3's."

The decision making of the Florida guards will be put to test on Saturday. Whether it's penetrating and passing out to the perimeter or being smart when attack the basket, the veteran guards have to on their best game.

The Gators benefit from a similar experience during their three meetings with Kentucky earlier this season. Just as Kentucky depends on Anthony Davis to block shots and change shots near the basket, Gorgei Dieng does the same thing.

"There are plays you think you can get shots off around the basket and you realize you can't," Donovan said. "And it takes time to adjust to that. Michigan State is obviously a huge basketball team physically. He blocked seven shots (Thursday) night. Our guys have at least gone through some of that with Anthony Davis. And we've got to be smart.

"Doesn't mean you can't do anything at the basket, but if you're going in there and he's got angles and position to jump up there and really alter the shot, it's probably not a really good decision, because he really anchors the back of that defense. He understands what shots to chase and go after and what shots not to chase."

Dieng played 40 minutes of the Cardinals' win over Michigan State on Thursday. His ability to run the floor but continue to play with energy is something Florida has respect. The Gators will try to raise the tempo with the ball in their hands like always, but that might not even effect Dieng

"To play 40 minutes is really difficult," said Florida center Patric Young, the player that will likely be given the responsibility to guard Dieng. "To be able to play a disciplined 40 minutes would be even harder for a guy of that size. I've had to play games where I've been close to 40 minutes, and it's hard to have to come out there and show out on screens and still run the floor.

"Hopefully we can get this guy to continue to guard. He can lose a little bit of discipline and get him to slip up and make a few mistakes, fouls here and there, possibly."

It doesn't stop with Dieng.

Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva averages 5.6 assists per game and is the general on the court. The constant improvement throughout his career has caught Florida's eye.

"I think he's really grown," Donovan said. "He's improved. He's gotten better. I think the one thing that really makes him a special player is he has another gear athletically on the floor. He's got great speed. I wouldn't say he's an overly tall guard, but he's physically strong."

"I think where he's different than most guards in the country is he's got incredible bounce off the floor, where he can get into traffic and into the lane and does a great job finishing around the rim. When he gets in the paint he's a devastating player."

Kyle Kuric leads the Cardinals with 12.9 points per game and is shooting 33% from behind the three-point line. He's averaging just over two three-pointers a game. The senior scares Donovan because of his experience and intelligence.

"I think Kuric is a really, really smart player, and I think as the floor moves and offense moves he can see things and figure things out pretty well," Donovan said. "They do a great job covering for each other. hey rotate very well. There's times that they get caught in binds, but they kind of work their way through it and they work themselves out of it."

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