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Gators Look For Redemption In Rematch Versus Napier, Huskies In Final Four

Posted by Washington Tucker on 4/2/2014 9:24:15 PM

The Florida Gators remember Shabazz Napier’s buzzer-beater that decided their 65-64 loss to the Connecticut Huskies when these teams met back at the beginning of December. After all, that was the last time they lost a game. The Gators will have much more than a measure of redemption on their mind when they clash with UCONN for the second time this season – this time it will be for a berth in the final of the March Madness tournament. Florida has won 30-straight games since that loss to the Huskies, but as impressive as their 36-2 record is, it will be a disappointment if they can’t finish what they started in their run to the 2014 national title.

March Madness - Final Four
(7) Connecticut Huskies vs. (1) Florida Gators
Saturday April 5, 2014 - 6:09 PM ET
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
March Madness Betting Line: Florida – 6.5

UCONN has its own designs on a national championship, and after taking down Iowa State and Michigan State to get to the Final Four, it’s clear they will not be intimidated. Napier has averaged 23.3 points per game to this point in the tournament, and will get his chance to take down the Gators a second time, with a whole lot more on the line.

March Madness Betting Preview: Connecticut

This scrappy Huskies’ team lost the rebound battle to Michigan State, but still managed to hold them to a tournament-low two second-chance points in their Elite Eight win. Napier had a game-high 25 points in the win, with DeAnde Daniels and Ryan Boatright the only other two UCONN players that finished in double-digits. Connecticut will likely be beaten on the boards again as they were in the first meeting when Florida finished with a 34-26 edge in that department, so they will need to battle hard to keep the Gators from scoring second-chance points, and they will rely on Napier to step up and the difference again the way he has so many times this season.

March Madness Betting Preview: Florida

Florida won’t be surprised by Napier and Daniels this time around, as that tandem combined for 40 of the team’s 65 points in the initial meeting. The Gators will counter with an impressive tandem of their own in Casey Prather and SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin, who combined for 34 points in the first meeting. Wilbekin led the way in the Elite Eight win over Dayton with a game-high 23 points including three 3-point shots. Florida held Dayton to just eight transition points in that victory, and if they can slow the Huskies down and force Napier in to settling for tough shots, they should have no problem extending their win streak and reaching the national title game.

March Madness Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Beating the same opponent twice in one season isn’t easy, especially when you are the underdog both times, and the line for this game is testament to the challenge that lays ahead for UCONN. However, the Huskies are a tough squad that have proven they can hang with the top teams in the country, including Florida, so they should be able to at the very least keep this game close, even if the Gators come out on top in the end.

March Madness Betting Pick: Connecticut Huskies + 6.5

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