The game is finally here! BYU has not made it this far since 1981 when Danny Ainge led the Cougars to the Elite Eight. This matchup will be tough since Florida is great down low with Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin. Those two players both score in double digits and average more then seven boards a game. BYU will need to find a way to slow them down and try to become at least even on the rebound front, or as close as possible.
Noah Hartsock, Charles Abouo and James Anderson will have to step up against the Florida front line and if it all possible get them in some type of foul trouble by playing aggressive and going after lose balls. This matcup is the most important by far in this game, because we all know that unless Jimmer Fredette gets into foul trouble he will most likely get his.
Over at SB Nation's Florida site Alligator Army they discuss on a way to hopefully slow Fredette down and that is by making him play defense. That strategy is not one that has been used too often, but Fredette is not known for being a good defender and if Florida can force Fredette to play defense and make him tired that could effect his shot and give the Gators a better chance of winning.
While BYU is razor-thin on depth, the Gators are deep team that has eight players who see more then 10 minutes of action per game. One main item to look at in the game is Florida's Kenny Boynton who is recovering from an ankle injury, but Boynton has recently said he is fine. Boyton will be matched up against Fredette for most of the game just like he was last year, and it was not until Boyton fouled out in the second overtime when Fredette was able to start getting in a groove. If Boyton is really 100 percent then Fredette could have some issues.
The Cougars will need Jackson Emery, Noah Hartsock or Charles Abouo to step up and help Fredette in the scoring department. All of those players -- as does Fredette -- rely on the three-point shot and BYU will win this game if they are able to shoot a solid percentage from beyond the arc. Also, Fredette needs to get to the foul line and attempt anywhere from 10-15 shots and of course making 85 percent of those for BYU tonight.
It is hard to pick against BYU since they have Fredette who has already won multiple national player of the year awards, so I predict BYU will be able to shoot the ball well and win in a close game where Fredette scores at least 28 points.