Florida, UCLA tower over South Regional upstarts

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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No. 1 Florida

Coach: Billy Donovan, 18th year

Record: 34-2, 18-0 in SEC, first place

Sweet 16 appearances: 10

How they got here: def. Albany 67-55, def. Pittsburgh 61-45

Top player: Senior PG Scottie Wilbekin (13.1 pts., 3.8 assists)

Will reach Arlington if … A veteran, defensive-minded team continues to build on its 28-game winning streak, the nation’s longest. The Gators are not explosive offensively but rank among NCAA defensive leaders by allowing only 57.5 points per game, with a 39.8 shooting percentage for opponents. Wilbekin joins C Patric Young, F Casey Prather and F Will Yeguete in a four-senior nucleus hungry to reach the Final Four after Elite Eight losses the past three seasons.

No. 4 UCLA

Coach: Steve Alford, 1st year

Record: 28-8, 12-6 in Pac-12, second place

Sweet 16 appearances: 30

How they got here: def. Tulsa 76-59, def. Stephen F. Austin 77-60

Top player: Sophomore G/F Kyle Anderson (14.8 pts., 8.7 rebs.)

Will reach Arlington if … The Bruins’ versatile, quick and upsized backcourt continues to create matchup problems that opponents cannot solve. Anderson leads the team in rebounds (8.7) and assists (6.5), can play inside or outside, and has plenty of backcourt help in three players who are 6-4 or taller: leading scorer Jordan Adams (17.4 ppg), Norman Powell (11.5 ppg) and Zach LaVine (9.6 ppg). Freshman Bryce Alford (8.1 ppg), the coach’s son, is a key bench asset and 3-point marksman.

No. 10 Stanford

Coach: Johnny Dawkins, 6th year

Record: 23-12, 10-8 in Pac-12, fourth place

Sweet 16 appearances: 5

How they got here: def. New Mexico 58-53, def. Kansas 60-57

Top player: Senior F Dwight Powell (13.9 pts., 6.8 rebs.)

Will reach Arlington if … The Cardinal, which features one of the nation’s deepest front lines, can continue to dominate the boards and impact opponents’ shots with their superior size. Powell (6-10, 235) is one of five inside contributors at 6-9 or taller, yet the team’s leading rebounder (8.2 per game) is 6-7 forward Josh Huestis. G Chasson Randle (18.7 ppg), the team’s leading scorer, must remain effective from outside to complement the efforts of his taller teammates.

No. 11 Dayton

Coach: Archie Miller, 3rd year

Record: 25-10, 11-7 in Atlantic 10, fifth place

Sweet 16 appearances: 7

How they got here: def. Ohio State 60-59, def. Syracuse 55-53

Top player: Senior F Devin Oliver (11.9 pts., 7.5 rebs.)

Will reach Arlington if … The Flyers, who allowed 67 points per game during the regular season, continue playing the lockdown defense they’ve shown during NCAA upsets of two blue-blood programs. Dayton has a standout guard in Jordan Sibert (12.3 ppg, 1.5 assists), an Ohio State transfer, to complement a deep, talented front line that includes Oliver (6-7, 225), F Dyshawn Pierre, (6-6, 210), C Matt Kavanaugh (6-10, 250), C/F Jalen Robinson (6-9, 243) and C/F Devon Scott (6-9, 215).

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