Wise Words on UCLA

FightinGators.com caught up with Mark Wise, the College Basketball Analyst for the Gator Radio Network , ESPN, FOX, and other prominent outlets. Wise knows this Gator basketball team as well as anyone in the industry and also has done a lot of work on the West Coast including a few UCLA contests. The Gators play the Bruins tonight in a huge contest in the Sweet-16.

UCLA promises to be a different animal for the Gators in terms of the type of personnel that Florida has seen this year.

For reference, here is a projected starting lineup for both teams.


G/F Kyle Anderson (SO) (6-9, 230) 14.7 points/ game; 8.7 Reb; 6.5 assists.
G Norman Powell (JR) (6-4, 215) 11.5 PPG; 2.8 Reb.
G Jordan Adams (SO) (6-5, 220) 17.4 PPG, 5.4 Reb; 2.7 steals.
F Travis Wear (SR) (6-10, 230) 7.0 PPG; 3.2 Reb.
F David Wear (SR) (6-10, 230) 6.5 PPG; 3.8 Reb.


PG Scottie Wilbekin (SR) (6-2, 176) 13.1 PPG; 3.9 Assists.
G Michael Frazier II (SO) (6-4, 199) 13.1 PPG; 3.5 Reb.
SF Casey Prather (SR) (6-6, 212) 14.2 PPG; 4.9 Reb.
F Will Yeguete (SR) (6-8, 230) 4.9 PPG; 5.1 Reb.
Patric Young (SR) (6-9, 240) 10.9 PPG; 6.3 Reb.

We asked Wise several questions about the matchup tonight.

Q. How does this UCLA team compare in personnel and style to the teams UF faced in the recent past?

Mark Wise: "From a pro prospect perspective, the closest would be Kentucky. They are kind of a unique skill set offensively driven team. They are an inverted attack team. Meaning, their best post-up players are probably their guards, Adams and Anderson. Their big guys , the Wear twins, are better facing the basket at 15-feet. They are career 40% shooters from beyond the arc."

"Florida, nor anyone else has played anyone like Kyle Anderson. I have compared him all year to Michael Carter-Williams (76er's rookie PG). He isn't as fluid as Michael Carter-Williams, not as quick, but probably a little better shooter. As a consequence they require an outlet pass because of his ability to defensive rebound. The other guys just run the lane and he is marvelous in finding them. He is a triple threat every night and you don't play many players like that."

Q. Where are Florida's liabilities in this game?

Mark Wise: "Well for the entire year, their shooting has gone south at times. They didn't shoot the ball particularly well in Orlando, but that is coming off of the SEC tournament where they shot the 3-ball I believe 47%. They have kind of self-corrected themselves along the way this season in terms of inside-out balance. They are at their best when they get a little bit of both. I think UCLSA would have trouble matching up with Patric Young. I think he would get early touches tonight to try and emphasize that inside-out approach."

Q. Where do you see the matchup advantages for Florida tomorrow night?

Mark Wise: "Stylistically, they are not a great defensive team. They don't wow you with their numbers, they allow teams to shoot a relatively high percentage for the teams left in the tournament. What they do a marvelous job of is steals. According to Ken Pom they are the fourth best team in the country in number of possessions defensively that they get steals. When they are doing that and Adams and Levine or Anderson or Powell, they are able to run the floor and get easy points. That is part of their M.O. I think the key will be turnovers rather than individual matchups.

"They zone about 38% on the season, I don't anticipate that to change. Typically what they do is when Bryce Alford or Zach LaVine come into the game they automatically go to zone."

"I am not sure who Kasey Hill can guard in this game because of their size, it easy to say that he can guard Brice Alford, which is true, but when he comes into the game they usually zone."

Sign up for Fightin Gators!

Q. WIth all the athletes UCLA has and their style of play... do you see Billy extending the bench and using DeVon Walker and Chris Walker more?

Mark Wise: "I think just the opposite. I think the longer timeouts and the extra time out you get in the tournament, the longer halftime, the benches get shorter… they don't lengthen. Do I think Billy will play those two guys in the first half? Probably. I think he may throw DeVon Walker in there to see if he can make a shot. This might be a game where Chris Walker matches up pretty well with one of the Wear twins. They don't have a physical presence except for Tony Parker when he comes off the bench. It might be a better matchup for him, but typically coaches don't extend the bench in the NCAA games."

Q. Has UCLA gone up against a defense as good as ours this season?

Mark Wise: "Arizona… the difference is Arizona lines up and plays you man-to-man. The Gators can come at you in a variety of ways… the press, the 1-3-1. The way they defend the pick-and-roll is better than Arizona. Arizona is a very, very good defensive team, so in that realm, they would be the closest that UCLA has played."

Q. Given that, do you think the zone is more or less effective against this UCLA squad?

Mark Wise: "That is easy to say and that may be one of the great unknowns tonight. UCLA doesn't shoot a lot of three's but they make a good percentage. Freshman guard Zach Lavine is in a slump right now, so when he comes into the game you have to know where Alford is but maybe not so much Lavine. Kyle Anderson took his three-point shooting from 21% last year to 49% this year. You have to know where he is against the zone. I am sure Florida will mix it up tonight."

Q. How do you feel about the overall matchup with UCLA and what do the Gators have to do to win?

Mark Wise: "You have a great offense(UCLA) vs. a great defense(Florida). In games like this I almost want to say if those two are a (draw) then look at the game in the other direction, meaning Florida's offense vs. UCLA's defense. I think Florida will get good looks provided they don't turn the ball over. With the spotlight being so bright, can they knock down shots?

"The first key to the game is you must limit mistakes and not allow UCLA to get points off of turnovers. I looked at the last five games for Florida and only Kentucky in the SEC tournament got 10 points off of turnovers everyone else was in single digits. I think if you limit UCLA to 10 or fewer points off of turnovers and make a decent amount of shots, and that includes three's. This is not one of the games where they can go 3 for 17 from beyond the arc.

"I think if the game is in the 50's or 60's that favors Florida, if it is in the 70's and 80's it favors UCLA. But, I think Florida is more equipped to win in the 70's and 80's than UCLA is in the 50's and 60's."

Fightin Gators Top Stories