Two teams with plenty of NCAA Tournament experience will battle for the first spot in the 2011 Final Four when the Butler takes on Florida from New Orleans, LA this afternoon.
Think about for a moment what Butler – from the Horizon League – is trying to do. A win today over the Gators, and the Bulldogs are back to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. That’s a tall task for the most prestigious of programs.
“The cool part is — our guys — it’s not above their imagination,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said of upsetting one higher seed after another. “It’s just what they think that we have to do next.”
As for Florida, coach Bill Donavan has the Gators back as the cusp of the Final Four for the first time since the Gators won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.
Florida has size, athleticism and balance. Four starters — guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, along with center 6-foot-10 center Vernon Macklin and 6-9 forward Chanlder Parsons — have averaged double figures in scoring. Alex Tyus, the one who hasn’t, was the best player in Florida’s regional semifinal victory over BYU on Thursday night, with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
MY PICK – Florida – Sorry, Butler, but the magic has to stop somewhere. I will say, however, that should the Bulldogs win and shock the world one more time it could change the way we look at college basketball – especially the mid-majors – forever.
FLORIDA 67 – BUTLER 58