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Pittsburgh222345
Florida273461
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61


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
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
DUKE 52
ELON 13
 
Final
UNC 56
LBRTY 29
7:05pm Saturday
NOR 4
DUR 1
 
Final
ECU 52
NCCU 7
 
5:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
TOR 2
NYY 0
Final
CWS 6
DET 3
Final
STL 1
CHC 5
Final
PIT 3
CIN 2
Final
BAL 3
MIN 2
Final
TAM 7
BOS 0
Final
KAN 2
CLE 3
Final
CWS 4
DET 8
Final
ATL 0
MIA 4
Final
NYM 2
PHI 7
Final
HOU 2
TEX 0
Final
ARI 0
COL 2
Final
STL 13
CHC 2
Final
SDP 2
LOS 1
 
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
 
Final
ANA 2
OAK 0
 
Final
SEA 1
WAS 3
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
PHI
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
MIN
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
BOS
 
2:10pm Today
CWS
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
TEX
 
2:15pm Today
STL
CHC
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
OAK
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
LOS
 
4:10pm Today
SEA
WAS
 
5:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:07pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
Final
MICH 52
APPST 14
Final
NAVY 17
OSU 34
Final
UAB 48
TROY 10
Final
UVA 20
UCLA 28
Final
PURD 43
WMICH 34
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
UMASS 7
BC 30
Final
NW 24
CAL 31
Final
NEB 55
FATL 7
Final
UMO 27
MARS 42
Final
ND 48
RICE 17
Final
MIZZ 38
SDST 18
Final
ALA 33
WVU 23
Final
AUB 45
ARK 21
Final
STAN 45
UCD 0
Final
UGA 45
CLEM 21
Final
UNC 56
LBRTY 29
Final
KSU 14
OHIO 17
Final
OKLA 48
LATU 16
Final
KST 55
SAUST 16
Final
USC 52
FRES 13
Final
MSST 49
SMISS 0
 
Final
OKST 31
FSU 37
Final
TEX 38
UNT 7
Final
NMU 24
UTEP 31
8:05pm Saturday
UF 0
IDAHO 0
4th
LSU 28
WISC 24
 
Half
OREG 41
SD 13
 
3rd
HAW 10
WASH 17
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
UTST
7:30pm Tonight
BAY
SMU
Final
DUKE 52
ELON 13
 
Final
ECU 52
NCCU 7
 
7:05pm Saturday
NOR 4
DUR 1
 
5:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR