2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida's Tournament Run Ends In Overtime

The Gators' Final Four dreams end with a 74-71 loss to Butler in the Southeast Regional Final.

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2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida Falls To Butler 74-71 In Overtime

The Florida Gators’ bid for their third trip to the Final Four in six years came up just short in the Southeast Regional Final. The Butler Bulldogs led for most of overtime and hung on for a 74-71 win as the Gators took two ill-advised shots on their last two possessions of the game.

After Shelvin Mack (who scored 27 points) missed a three-pointer, the Gators took a timeout with 30 seconds left, trailing by a point. Out of the timeout, Kenny Boynton took a long three-pointer from the left wing and missed. Butler was awarded the ball on the possession arrow after a wild scramble ended with a jump ball. Then after a foul, Mack hit both free throws to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to three.

Florida caught a break when the scorekeeper accidentally started the clock before it was touched, giving them a de facto timeout to draw up a play to tie. But Erving Walker, ice cold all day, launched a questionable 25-foot three and missed. Ronald Nored grabbed the rebound for Butler and threw it down court, running off enough of the clock that Kenny Boynton only had time to heave a shot at the basket from 60 feet away. It was off line, and Butler earned its second straight trip to the Final Four.

Florida’s season ends with a record of 29-8, but they have re-established themselves as a championship contender after a rebuilding period following their back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.

For more on the Gators and their impressive Tournament run, follow Alligator Army, SB Nation’s Florida blog.

Also, it should be stated for the record that Reggie Miller spent the entire overtime trying to sabotage a classic Gus Johnson call on the TV broadcast.


2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida And Butler Heading To Overtime, 60-60

It just wouldn’t be a Butler NCAA Tournament game unless it came down to the wire, would it? The Florida Gators had the ball last, but Erving Walker’s three-pointer just missed at the buzzer, sending UF and the Butler Bulldogs to overtime in their Southeast Regional Final tied at 60.

Butler rallied from an 11-point deficit in the middle of the second half, cranking up the defensive intensity and getting timely baskets. Shelvin Mack has 22 points for the Bulldogs, while Vernon Macklin has a career-high 24 for Florida on 11-for-14 shooting. Macklin also has four fouls, though, and one more would eliminate Butler’s biggest problem on the defensive end.


2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida Leads Butler 33-32 At Half

Looks like another exciting finish for both the Florida Gators and Butler Bulldogs at New Orleans Arena. The Gators held a 10-point lead at one point in the first half, but the Bulldogs rallied to cut Florida’s lead to 33-32 at halftime of their Southeast Regional Final.

It’s clear that Butler has no one to counter Gators center Vernon Macklin on the offensive end; he has 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and has been a force inside. On the other hand, Florida is struggling to contain Bulldogs guard Shelvin Mack, who has 14 points and three 3-pointers. Butler took 15 threes in the first half, and if they can’t find an answer for Macklin on the low block, their hopes of advancing to a second straight Final Four may ride on their outside shooting and their edge in big-game experience.

Follow along with Alligator Army’s game thread in the second half to talk about the game with Gators fans.


2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida vs. Butler Preview

A trip to Houston and the Final Four is on the line today as the 2nd seeded Florida Gators take on the 8th seeded Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast Regional Final. Tip-off is set for 4:20 EDT, and the trio of Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, and Reggie Miller will have the call for you on CBS.

Butler has a quality inside-outside scoring duo in Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, and the Bulldogs have a lineup that can play in a variety of ways. Andrew Smith should be able to play for Butler after taking a nasty fall in their Sweet 16 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday. The Bulldogs will need a 3rd scorer to compete with Florida, and one option might be Tampa Wharton grad Steven VanZant.

Butler has the bigs to compete with Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin down low, it will just depend on how Mack, VanZant, and Ronald Norad take care of Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and Chandler Parsons on the perimeter.

The Gators are a heavy favorite tonight against Butler, as Nate Silver from the New York Times gives the Gators a 68% chance of winning, which is the 2nd highest of the Elite Eight matchups. Don’t be surprised however if this game is much closer. Butler is a talented and experienced team that has played in a ton of big games over the past two years.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: VCU Slips By FSU With Last Second Lay-Up

Bradford Burgess found an opening in the paint when he darted to the basket off an inbound play, and his lay-up with 7 seconds left propelled the 11th seeded VCU Rams to the Elite Eight with a 72-71 win over the 10th seeded Florida State Seminoles in San Antonio. FSU had a chance to win it, but just like at the end of regulation, Derwin Kitchen took too much time off the clock, and passed the ball to Chris Singleton with less than a second to go. Singleton couldn't get a shot off in time, and VCU continues their Cinderella run through the tournament.

Burgess had a monster game for the Rams tonight, and he led all scorers with 26 points in 9-15 shooting. His 6 three pointers created a match-up problem for the Seminoles all night long. Brandon Rozzell came off the bench to contribute 16 points, including scoring 11 straight points for the Rams at one point in the 2nd half. For Florida State, Derwin Kitchen led the Seminoles in scoring with 23 points, while Chris Singleton had 16 points off the bench. Michael Snaer had 12 points including 3 three pointers. Bernard James had a tremendous 8 point, 10 rebound, 5 block effort, including a couple of game saving efforts in the 2nd half and overtime.

Florida State had a monster 45-25 rebounding edge in the game, including a 20-5 advantage on the offensive glass. Unfortunately, FSU didn't take advantage of the extra possessions, and shot a paltry 36% from the field for the entire game. Turnovers seemed to take its toll in the 2nd half, as FSU turned the ball over 13 times in the 2nd half and OT. You just can't give a team like VCU who thrives on transition offense those types of chances.

VCU will play top seeded Kansas Sunday, who defeated the Richmond Spiders earlier today 77-57.


For more Florida State coverage, check with our Seminole blog Tomahawk Nation.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: VCU and Florida State Head To Overtime

Big rally by the Seminoles, as James Singleton’s three-pointer with 46 seconds to go tied the game at 65 and we head to overtime in this Southwest Regional Semifinal.

VCU had a couple of decent looks to take the lead, but Florida State’s defense came through late, and led to a shot clock violation and a huge Bernard James block which gave the Noles a chance to win it. Derwin Kitchen had the ball late, but dribbled off too much time, and a desperation jumper had no chance to go in with time expiring.

VCU is in serious foul trouble with leading scorer Bradford Burgess with 4 fouls, while Jamie Skeen, Joey Rodriguez, and Darius Theus all have three fouls for Shaka Smart’s club. The Seminoles aren’t in as bad of shape with Okaro White with 4 fouls and Chris Singleton with 3.

The winner of this battle will face Kansas in the Regional Final Sunday.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: VCU Leads FSU 61-53 With 7:30 Left In Game

With Jamie Skeen and Joey Rodriguez shackled in foul trouble for most of the 2nd half, Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozzell have carried the VCU Rams to a 61-53 lead over the Florida State Seminoles at the under 8 timeout. Burgess has a game high 21 points for the Rams, while Rozzell has 14 off the bench. Derwin Kitchen leads FSU in scoring with 16 points, and Chris Singleton has 11 points off the bench for Florida State, but his minutes have increased over the first two games of the tournament.

The Rams have lived by the three tonight, hitting 11 so far in the game, and Rozzell in particular burned the Seminoles when FSU went to a matchup zone midway through the 2nd half. Singleton was late on a couple of rotations, and Rodriguez was able to find the open man for three.

They talked about FSU's penchant for turning the ball over before the game, but its been VCU who has had problems controlling the ball with 15 turnovers already in the game.

Florida State is in the bonus the rest of the way, so if they have any chance getting back in it, FSU needs to hit their free throws.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: VCU Leads FSU At Halftime 36-31

It a battle of two great defensive teams, VCU has been the team hitting their shots so far in San Antonio, leading Florida State 36-31 at halftime in the Southwest Regional Semifinal. With the Seminoles focusing their efforts on Joey Rodriguez and Jamie Skeen, Bradford Burgess leads all scorers with 15 points including 3 made three pointers. Skeen has been used more of a decoy so far, but he still finished the first half with 8 points. For FSU, Derwin Kitchen has been able to use his size over the smaller Rodriguez inside, and is the only Seminole in double figures with 12 points. Chris Singleton and Michael Snaer each have 6 points for the 'Noles, and Xavier Gibson already has 8 rebounds for FSU.

Florida State has to be feeling good being down only 5. FSU has shot a horrendous 30% from the field in the first half while VCU shot 52%, but the Seminoles have dominated the glass so far tonight. FSU out-rebounded the Rams 23-14 in the first half, including an amazing 13 offensive rebounds in the first half. You have to assume VCU will cool down later in the game once FSU's defense starts to fatigue the Rams, and the size advantage in the post should start to show in the 2nd half.

VCU and FSU both have some foul issues to deal with in the second half. For VCU, both Rodriguez and Skeen committed 2 fouls, while Okaro White and Gibson are each saddles with 2 fouls.


Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Preview: Florida State Vs. VCU

After a 71-57 upset over Notre Dame on Sunday, the Florida State Seminoles look to keep rolling in the NCAA Tournament today. This is their third time reaching the Sweet 16 in team history, and they’re the favored team to move on to the Elite 8.

No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU, 9:55 PM, TBS

The Seminoles have made it this far in the tournament on the basis of their strong defense, and they’ll need to rely on that defense if they’re going to move on to the Elite 8. SB Nation’s blog on the Seminoles, Tomahawk Nation, has a very detailed preview of today’s game, so check it out:

As you are aware, FSU has the tendency to turn the ball over at a remarkable rate (312th in the country). If we can consistently gets shots off, we’ll win this game. If VCU creates transition turnovers that lead to points, then we could be in trouble. And I think that’s what this game comes down to. It’s not necessarily turnovers, but more the type of turnovers. Dead ball turnovers in the form of charges and out-of-bounds wouldn’t be a big deal, but if VCU can consistently turn us over in transition then FSU players will likely be packing their bags.

The ’Noles are given a 62 percent chance of winning by Nate Silver from the New York Times, meaning this should be a close match and should make for some very entertaining basketball.


NCAA Tournament Bracket Update: Elite 8 Begins To Shape Up

After last night’s NCAA Tournament games, the field for the Elite 8 is halfway complete. The bottom half of the bracket has finished the Sweet 16, as both the West and Southeast Regions played all their games last night.

There were some exciting games, including No. 5 Arizona’s huge upset over No. 1 Duke. Arizona was not favored to win, but still controlled the game and beat Duke by 16 points, 93-77. No. 3 UConn managed to hold on against No. 2 San Diego State, winning that game 74-67, while No. 8 Butler knocked off the higher ranked No. 4 Wisconsin despite a late game charge by the Badgers. And in the game of the night, No. 2 Florida managed to win in overtime against No. 3 BYU and Jimmer Fredette.

Saturday, March 26 Game Times for the Elite Eight:

4:20 PM — No. 2 Florida vs. No. 8 Butler
6:55 PM — No. 3 UConn vs. No. 5 Arizona

If you’d like an updated, printable bracket of the full NCAA Tournament, you can find one at SB Nation here.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Florida Advances To Elite Eight After 83-74 OT Win Over BYU

Florida withstood everything Jimmer Fredette and the BYU Cougars could throw at them, and the Gators advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007 with an 83-74 overtime thriller. Alex Tyus had a career day for the Gators going for 19 points and 17 rebounds for the night. Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and Chandler Parsons were in double figures as well for the night, going for 17, 16, and 16 points respectively.

Fredette scored 32 points, but had to do it on 11-29 shooting. We talked earlier about how Florida had to keep the Cougars from getting a 2nd and 3rd scorer going, and the Gators defense did that. Jackson Emery was held scoreless in the 2nd half and OT after scoring 9 in the first half. Noah Hartstock had 9 points as well, but he was held in check by Tyus, Vernon Macklin, and Patric Young for most of the night.

After being out rebounded by 2 in the first half, the Gators took care of the glass in the 2nd half and OT, and finished with a 42-39 rebounding edge led obviously by Tyus. Florida also did a fantastic job taking care of the ball in the 2nd half, turning the ball over only 5 times in the final 25 minutes.

Florida will play in their 5th Elite Eight in school history, and will play the winner of the Butler-Wisconsin played later tonight.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Florida And BYU Tied At 63

This is starting to play out exactly like last year’s first round matchup, as the Florida Gators and the BYU Cougars are tied at 63 with only 4:56 left to go in this Sweet 16 matchup.

Florida has had a balanced scoring load with 4 players in double figures lead by Alex Tyus’ 14 points, 10 rebound effort and a Vernon Macklin with 9 points. Jimmer Fredette has been bothered by a calf injury in the 2nd half, but has carried BYU with 28 points. Jackson Emery and Noah Hartstock each have 9 points, but Fredette is the 1st through 3rd option right now for the Cougars.

Florida has done a good job getting its post players involved in the 2nd half, and the Gator bigs are starting to control the paint down low. Florida however has to keep a man on Jimmer as soon as he crosses the half court line. His 3-pointer to tie the game was from around 30 feet out.

We hope you are excited as Gus Johnson is for this wild finish.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Florida And BYU Tied 36-36 At Halftime

It looks like it might be another NCAA Tournament classic between BYU and Florida, as UF leads BYU in a back and forth affair in New Orleans. Jimmer Fredette was held scoreless until the 6:14 mark of the first half, but came on strong after making his first and ended the first half with 10 points. Erving Walker has 14 points to led the Gators, while Chandler Parsons has 8 points, and Alex Tyus has 7 points and 6 rebounds to lead the posts.

Fredette was hounded on the perimeter for most of the half by Walker, Kenny Boynton, and Scottie Wilbekin, but has been able to get a majority of his baskets in the paint. While Jimmer was held scoreless, Jackson Emery carried the Cougars for the first 10 minutes, and had 9 quick points before sitting with 2 fouls.

Florida has been incredibly efficient on offense, shooting 53% from the field, but a combination of 10 turnovers and only making 1-6 free throws gave BYU the opportunity to come back and tie the game going into the half.

Surprisingly, BYU is actually leading the rebounding over Florida 18-16, including 6 offensive rebounds led by Kyle Collingsworth’s 6 boards.

Not too many people in foul trouble for either team. Emery and reserve forward Logan Magnusson each have two fouls for the Cougars, while Patric Young is the only Gator with 2 fouls. Should be an exciting 2nd half in New Orleans.


2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Florida's Keys To Beat BYU

Florida and BYU face off against each other for the second NCAA Tournament in a row. If its anything like the game last year's two OT thriller, it will be in the running for game of the tournament. For the Gators if they can do these three things consistently tonight, they most likely cruise into the Elite Eight. (Although all bets are off when it comes to The Law of Gus)

Attack the Post:

With the suspension of BYU's best post player Brandon Davies, the Gators have a huge advantage in the paint. Whether its from getting Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin, and Patric Young the ball in the post, or having Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker attack the basket, Florida should be able to do whatever they want in the paint. BYU does have a quality post in Noah Hartstock, but Charles Abouo and James Anderson are a huge drop from what Davies brought to the table for BYU. If their posts get into some early foul trouble, expect BYU to go zone, which should give Chandler Parsons, Walker, and Boynton open looks from three.

Limit BYU's Supporting Cast:

Just get it your mind from the beginning, Jimmer Fredette is going to score a lot of points tonight. The key is limiting his teammates from becoming a quality second option. In last year's matchup, Michael Loyd, Jr.'s was left open, and he took advantage to the tune of 26 points to compliment Fredette's 37. Jackson Emery has emerged as the Cougar's second option this year, and if Boynton can keep him under control tonight, it will put even more pressure on Jimmer to produce.

Make Jimmer Work on Defense:

All credit goes to Alligator Army on this one. Jimmer is not a great defender, and Florida has two guys in Walker and Boynton who can exploit Fredette's lack of lateral movement to get to the lane. If Jimmer shot is affected from working on both ends, or has to go to the bench after picking up a foul or two, it could get ugly early for BYU.


Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament: Florida Gators Vs. BYU Preview

The Sweet Sixteen kicks off today, as the No. 2 Florida Gators take on No. 3 Brigham Young University tonight in what should be a closely fought game between two high seeds. Let's take a quick glance at both teams:

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU, 7:27 p.m., TBS

Thankfully for Florida, it appears as though guard Kenny Boynton is expected to play tonight against BYU. Boynton is one of Florida's key players, and he'll be matched up against BYU's star Jimmer Fredette. Fredette is a force unto himself: he's the nation's top scorer and has led the charge for BYU through the NCAA Tournament thus far. Last season, Fredette scored 37 points against Florida, so the Gators will need to improve their defense against him if they want to have a shot at this game.

The Gators are favored in this matchup - albeit, just slightly. Nate Silver from the New York Times gives the Gators a 60% chance of winning tonight, a probability that means this game is essentially a toss up and almost anything can happen. These teams are two of the closest matched teams in the fourth round, so this game has the potential to be one of the best of the Sweet 16.

For a full schedule of the Sweet 16 games, check out our coverage here. Also, for more on the Florida Gators, follow SB Nation's blog on the Gators, Alligator Army.

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