Colleges

Pittsburgh looking for upset over No. 1 seed Florida

Posted March 22

The NCAA Tournament's top overall seed will try to continue their trek through the South Region on Saturday (12:15 p.m., WRAL-TV) 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 against 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.

2 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • thomasew52 Mar 22, 2:54 p.m.

    Ha Ha, Pitt, no upset for you! I'm glad to see it too. Pitt Panthers, thought they had the tiger by the tail in the ACC tournament. Well, Pitt got caught in the Gator chomp, and the NCAAs are over for them.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Mar 22, 2:12 p.m.

    Not going to happen, Jamie

  • World Series: Kansas City vs. San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: San Diego at Denver

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Saturday at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals

    Tonight at 8:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Calgary Flames

    Tomorrow at 8:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
WIN 3
CAR 1
Final
KAN 1
SFG 7
8:07pm Tonight
KAN
SFG
 
Final
MIA 90
HOU 85
Final
MIN 107
IND 89
Final
OKC 91
UTA 105
Final
DEN 75
POR 93
Final
LAL 108
PHO 114
Final
GSW 125
LAC 107
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CLE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
ATL
 
10:00pm Tonight
LAL
POR
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
PHO
 
Final
LALAF 55
ARKST 40
Final
NJD 3
NYR 4
Final
BOS 5
SJS 3
Final
NYI 2
TOR 5
Final
MON 2
DET 1
Final
NAS 4
ARI 3
Final
WIN 3
CAR 1
Final
CHI 4
PHI 0
Final
DAL 6
VAN 3
Final
COL 3
FLA 4
Final
CAL 1
TAM 2
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
PIT
PHI
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
ANA
BUF