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Pittsburgh (26-9) vs. Florida (33-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 22, 12:15 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Amway Center (20,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: CBS. NCAA Record: Pittsburgh 24-25, Florida 36-14. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 4-2.

GAME NOTES: The NCAA Tournament's top overall seed will try to continue their trek through the South Region on Saturday when the Florida Gators take on the ninth-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers in the third round at the Amway Center.

Pittsburgh dominated its second round matchup with Colorado with a 77-48 triumph, the second-largest margin of victory of Thursday's action behind only Wisconsin's drudging of American (75-35) and the most lopsided victory ever in an NCAA Tournament 8-9 matchup. The Panthers are now winners of four of their last five games to improve to 26-9.

Florida (33-2) wasn't quite as dominant as a No. 1 overall seed is expected to be in its opening game of the tournament against a No. 16 seed, but it was still able to piece together a solid 67-55 victory over Albany to extend its program-record winning streak to 27 games. The Gators have advanced to the Round of 32 in four straight seasons, moving on to the Sweet 16 in each of the previous three years.

Pittsburgh has a 4-2 advantage over Florida in the all-time series, but the latest meeting (1992) came prior to Bill Donovan's tenure as head coach of the Gators.

The Panthers set the tone early against Colorado by scoring the game's first 13 points less than six minutes into the game and their lead was double digits from that point forward, as they shot 50.8 percent from the field, while holding the Buffaloes to only 35.7 percent shooting. Talib Zanna was nearly flawless on his way to 18 points, shooting 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 at the foul line. Cameron Wright added 11 points, Lamar Patterson scored 10 and James Robinson handed out eight assists.

While Pitt's offense has been far from explosive this season, it has still been largely impressive, scoring 72.6 ppg on 46.3 percent shooting. The biggest reason for its success has been the stout play of its defense, as it allows only 61.9 ppg on 41.1 percent shooting while boasting a +2.1 turnover margin. Patterson is one of the nation's best swingmen, posting 17.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.4 spg. Zanna patrols the paint with 13.1 ppg (on 58.3 percent from the field) and 8.6 rpg, and Wright brings 10.6 ppg to the table.

The Gators suffered a bit of a scare when Albany tied the score at 39 with 14:32 to play, but they quickly put an end to any threat by ripping off a 12-2 run to create separation. They finished the contest shooting 51.0 percent from the field, while holding Albany to less than 40 percent shooting, but they allowed the Great Danes to hang around by making only 3-of-12 from 3-point range. Casey Prather and Dorian Finney-Smith led the way with 16 points apiece, Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill poured in 10 points apiece and Patric Young tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Florida too has been defined by its outstanding defense, as it holds opponents to just 39.9 percent field-goal shooting for 57.9 ppg, with the latter ranking third-best in the nation. Prather is the top scoring threat with 14.2 ppg, doing so on a lofty 60.9 percent efficiency from the floor. Wilbekin puts up 12.9 ppg and 3.8 apg and earned the SEC Player of the Year. Wilbekin also found a spot on the league's All-Defensive Team alongside Patric Young (11.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg). Michael Frazier (12.6 ppg) has drained 108 3-pointers at a 45.2 percent clip and Finney-Smith adds 9.1 ppg and 6.6 rpg to the mix.

Pittsburgh's defense should be able to keep Florida's offensive playmakers in check and thus keep the game relatively close throughout. However, the Panthers lack the offensive explosion to penetrate the Gators' relentless defensive attack. It might not occur in the flashiest of ways, but expect Florida to continue on to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 64, Pittsburgh 55

03/22 10:18:55 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0