For the balance of the evening, one could have easily mistaken the New Orleans crowd for a cluster of 65+ patrons around the 8th tee at Augusta. The Big Easy fans kicked back in their seats, their noise level barely noticeable through the television audio feed. Not until a Jimmer three-pointer from the ribbon (aka 30 feet) did the place wake up.
Both Florida and BYU started out hot, Florida hitting on six of its first seven attempts while Jackson Emery nailed two threes in the first four minutes. That four minute flurry would hardly be representative of a night littered with silly turnovers, questionable whistles, and a Jimmer who finally ran out of gas in overtime.
Credit a phenomenal team effort in frustrating Fredette. Kenny Boynton was in his shorts, meeting him at mid-court on nearly every possession. On high screens, lanky forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus were there to trap Jimmer and deflect passes. When the Cougars' star did get into the lane, the imposing Vernon Macklin swatted and altered so many of his crafty layup attempts.
Even with the whole Gator gamut being thrown at him, Jimmer somehow still managed 32 points. Whether it was a gash under his chin, a left calf cramp, or five Gators shadowing his every move, Fredette looked fatigued towards the end.
Outside of the defensive effort, the story for Florida was the dominance on the glass from Tyus. He was all over the place grabbing 17 rebounds to go along with 19 points. I didn't want to mention his name, but it was impossible not to notice the gaping hole in the middle for BYU (
In the nightcap, if you were watching this one under the covers in the bedroom, you were probably asleep by the under 12 minute timeout of the first half. Wisconsin shot 30% overall, jacked up 29 three-point shots, and saw just one player notch double figures in scoring. The Badgers scored just five points in the first ten minutes of the second half and fell behind by as much as 17 points with eight minutes to go. It was a classic snoozer.
But, just when you thought that Gus Johnson would finally be on the call for a boring game, the Badgers closed within four points at the 1:40 mark. Wisconsin's full court press had the Bulldogs panicking, coughing it up five times in the final five minutes. They had chances to cut it to a one possession game but couldn't connect. It was a valiant effort. That being said, Wisconsin was very terrible and so completely stagnant they had no business being in that game at all.
Butler's Matt Howard has been outstanding this tournament and he's been unconscious from long range. He's shot 43% on the year and he's hit 6-13 3-point attempts in the last two games. Most importantly, he's kept himself on the floor unlike last year when early foul trouble routinely plagued him.
On Saturday, Butler will have a chance to play for their second Final Four appearance in a row.
Pish-Posh. This team is fearless, they have the weapons to spread the floor, and they can flat out D-fend.
If we've learned anything over the passed two years, it's that Coach Brad Stevens doesn't really care who his opponent is, his team will always give 100% effort on defense, and they'll execute methodically and efficiently on offense. This combination has been truly lethal. Just ask Kansas State, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Wisconsin.