Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast: 5 Keys for Gators to Win Sweet 16 Showdown

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured Columnist IVApril 8, 2017

Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast: 5 Keys for Gators to Win Sweet 16 Showdown

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    The No. 3 Florida Gators have had a rather easy time during their run into the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. 

    Billy Donovan's team advanced to the Sweet 16 with double-digit wins over No. 14 Northwestern State and No. 11 Minnesota in Austin, TX last weekend. 

    On Friday, the Gators will head down to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX to take on their new in-state rival No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast, who have been the Cinderella story of the tournament. 

    Here are five keys to the Gators' success on Friday as they look to advance to an Elite Eight showdown with either No. 1 Kansas or No. 4 Michigan in the South Regional Final on Sunday. 

Do Not Let Dunk City Get out of Hand

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    The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have been affectionately nicknamed Dunk City by their fans and now the entire nation because of their high-flying alley-oops. 

    The Eagles have plenty of players on the roster that can rise above the rim and shift the momentum of any game with a single dunk. 

    On Friday night, the Gators will have to limit the opportunities in both transition and in halfcourt sets that the Eagles get to show off their dunking mastery. 

    While giving up one or two dunks is acceptable, Billy Donovan's team has to make sure that they do not give up the dunks at a crucial point in the game. 

Make Sure the Lead Is Held for the Entire 40 Minutes

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    Against Minnesota on Sunday, the Gators were up by 19 points at the half. 

    By the time the second half reached the halfway mark, Florida was in danger of falling victim to a miraculous comeback. 

    Minnesota put the Gators into a bit of shock when the second half started but luckily for Florida, the Gophers were one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation all season and once again proved that late in the second half. 

    If Florida is up big at the half against FGCU, they can not afford to slip up in the second half and have a bad few minutes.

    FGCU has been able to get hot from the field and either clinch the win or make the game close over the past few weeks and that is something the Gators can not let happen. 

Get Mike Rosario Going from Beyond the Arc

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    The three-point shot can be a valuable weapon in big games if it is used right.

    The player who can utilize that weapon to its greatest ability for Florida is Mike Rosario.

    Rosario went off from three-point range against Minnesota by making six shots from beyond the arc and scoring 25 points. 

    During the postseason, Rosario has recovered from his lack of scoring down the stretch run of the regular season by scoring in double digits in three of the Gators' five games in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

    If Rosario can continue his strong shooting from beyond the arc, the Gators will have a strong scoring threat that will be able to put away Florida Gulf Coast. 

Shut Down Sherwood Brown

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    It was made clear last weekend that Sherwood Brown is the emotional leader of Florida Gulf Coast and he is also their best player. 

    When Brown was on the bench in foul trouble against San Diego State on Sunday, the Eagles had trouble pulling away from their opponent. 

    When Brown re-entered the game in the second half, Florida Gulf Coast went on a run that ended up clinching their spot in the Sweet 16. 

    Going against a talented player like Brown is nothing new to the Gators on the defensive end of the ball and they will simply have to adjust their defense to how Brown plays the game. 

    If Brown is taken out of the game, the Gators will increase their chances of winning greatly. 

Cause Plenty of Problems in the Paint

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    Florida has a trio of paint players that can cause any opponent trouble during any game. 

    The combination of Patric Young, Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete wreaked havoc on the SEC throughout the regular season and after flying under the radar during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, they are ready to announce themselves to the nation. 

    Murphy is Florida's leading scorer and his length on the offensive end can cause matchup problems for any opponent. 

    Young is a force on the boards while Yeguete is a lockdown defender and when the two are on the floor together they can shut down any opponent's play in the paint. 


    What do you think Florida needs to do to defeat Florida Gulf Coast?

    Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.