Big, Powerful Front Line Sets Tone
Hibbert is a 7'2" 283 pound horse that makes opposing teams alter their game plan. His numbers are not that imposing (11.6/6.9, 51 blocks) but his presence is clearly felt. Their best all-around player is forward Jeff Green who is 6'9". Green leads Georgetown with 11.8 points and is second in rebounds with 6.6. He is a decent three point shooter and is tied for the team lead in assist. Add in another 6'9" forward in Brandon Bowman (11.0/5.) and you have the Gator front line looking up for the first time all year.
In the backcourt, Georgetown has 6'2" Ashanti Cook and 6'1" Jonathan Wallace, so they are a little bigger than Florida there, too. They are both better than 40 percent from three-point range so you cannot afford to offer much help in the post. Wallace is the primary ball-handler.
When Georgetown faces teams with superior speed, they make a change in their alignment and with 6'6" forward Darrel Owens replacing one of the big guys. He's a solid player, good shooter and lets them go "small". 6'3" Jesse Sapp is another perimeter guy on the bench, and that's pretty much it.
Transition basketball is not what the Hoyas are all about. Georgetown keeps the game in the 60's and doesn't mind games in the 50's. When they beat Ohio State 70-52 it was the first time they had reached the 70-point mark in 13 games. They average 66 points a game. The Gators, on the other hand have been held under 69 points just three times -- all three against South Carolina and score more than 79 on average.
Common Opponents Tell a Story
Florida and Georgetown have four common opponents on their schedules this year; Syracuse, Providence, Vanderbilt and Savannah State. Each played five games against that quartet with the Hoyas facing Syracuse twice and the Gators battling the Commodores a pair of times. Florida is 5-and-0 in those games while Georgetown is 3-and-2.
FLORIDA VERSUS GEORGETOWN
- 87 – 77 Providence 72 – 62
- 113 - 62 Savannah State 78 – 49
- 75 – 70 Syracuse 68 – 53
- 81 – 58 Vanderbilt 61 – 68
Florida's average score was 87 – 67, while Georgetown's was 67 – 60.
The Gators played two of the five games at home, two on the road and one neutral site. Georgetown played four at home and one at a neutral site.
By any comparison, Florida outperformed Georgetown against common opposition.
Five Keys to Reaching Elite Eight
- Run Hibbert ----- The Hoyas' center is bigger than Noah and Horford, but he doesn't run like those guys. Gators need to try to wear him out by racing up the court every chance they get.
- Shoot the three ----- Vanderbilt beat Georgetown form long range and you simply have to make shots over that humongous front line. Lee Humphrey has been hot, but Taurean Green is just 4-for-17 his last three games.
- Tempo, Tempo, Tempo ----- Georgetown cannot win at Florida's pace, but they can win at their pace. Early FG percent for both teams will have a lot to do with what tempo this game has.
- Keep rebounding ----- Florida won both games in Jacksonville in part by being plus-eight on the glass. That probably won't happen here, but considering Georgetown averages plus-four a game, a draw would serve Florida well.
- Spiderman at his best ----- Corey Brewer was sensational against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is the guy Georgetown really can't match up with. If he exploits that, Florida can plan on an exciting Sunday afternoon.
Any of the four teams in Minneapolis is good enough to win the Regional and perhaps even good enough to win it all. Nobody waltzes through this thing and the Gators will have to play well to earn their third trip to a Regional final.