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2014 Final Four Preview: Florida Gators vs. UConn Huskies
By Reel Robinson

After a long week of anticipation we are finally approaching one of the most electrifying weekends of the year in sports. The Final Four falls in between a Finals matchup in the Masters and WrestleMania. Definitely has been a fixture in my life since I was a kid watching Arizona with Mike Bibby take down the favorite Kentucky team in the 90s. I say that in a way to setup a conversation about this weekend's matchup between two powerhouse programs UConn and Florida. One team (Florida) has been dominant all season and the other found their best basketball the last month of the season. Both teams have a pedigree of championships and great seasons, but this year they'll face off in a matchup to claim supremacy in college basketball.

The No. 1 seed Gators come off an expected win over Dayton in the Elite Eight. Playing as the favorite has been a familiar story this season for the juggernaut team. Dominating the SEC this season (not losing one game in conference play and winning the Conference championship over fellow Final Four mate Kentucky), Florida is the easy favorite to cut down the nets on Monday night. This matchup is intriguing for a few reasons, but nothing more important than the play of both teams pointScottie Wilbekin guards. As I spoke about earlier this week, the point guard dual between Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin and UConn Naismith Award Nominee Shabazz Napier will be a critical factor in who wins or loses. Both teams are guard led squads who play pressure defense and can matchup at all five positions with each other. The Huskies will have to make Wilbekin uncomfortable because one thing about the Gators is they get a bulk of their points on turnovers. If UConn can keep that limited, they will be right there at the end of the game.

UConn will have the best player on the court with Napier. If they can manage to keep the game in reach or control the pace, they'll allow Napier to do what he does best late in games. His big shot making ability will be needed when the game goes into crunch time. Florida will still rely on the hot hand and the fact they've yet to beat a player like Napier this season gives me some concern. I do believe it'll be hard for any team to beat a great team twice in the same year, but both teams are much different and playing at higher levels. UConn may surprise some people. So far experts have Florida winning convincingly, but I on the other hand have Napier doing some miraculous things to lift his team to the National Title game, which will be his second as a collegiate player. Now I am by no means saying it will be a blowout, but when it comes down to making big buckets, I have a stronger inclination to lean with the proven Napier over Wilbekin and his crew.

UConn was the last team to beat Florida on a buzzer beater by Napier earlier in the season. If the Huskie forward DeAndre Daniels can continue to play at a high level, he may be the X-factor. His ability to create his own shot and make open three-point buckets have given the Huskies a third option to lean on when needing points. Florida has to shoot well and stay away from scoring droughts. They usually have the ability to keep their opponent from scoring, so their scoring issues seem to be swept under the rug a bit. I think a team that is familiar with the Gators like UConn will be able to figure out a way to manufacture timely buckets. I will have to take the Huskies in this game with a Final Score of 73-68 and some kind of big shot by those UConn guards to close out the upset.

Who do you think will go onto the National Title game to face the winner between No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 8 Kentucky? Let me know in the comments.

04/5 Florida vs. UConn 6:09pm EST

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