Skip to content

No. 1 Florida, Scottie Wilbekin cruise to win over No. 9 Pitt

Mar 22, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT

Getty Images Getty Images

Scottie Wilbekin finished with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch, as the South’s top seed, Florida, knocked off No. 9 seed Pitt, 61-45, to become the first team officially in the Sweet 16.

The Gators will take on the winner of tomorrow night’s game between No. 4 UCLA and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin.

If you were looking for a blueprint for what makes Florida so dangerous, you got it on Saturday. The Gators were downright menacing defensively, particularly at the start of the first half. Pitt shot just 37.1% from the floor, scored all of 45 points and hit 4-for-17 from beyond the arc on a night where the Gators committed just seven fouls the entire game.

Playing stifling defense without committing fouls is not an easy thing to do.

On the other side of the floor, the Gators struggled a bit early on, but they finally got into a rhythm in the second half. Florida committed six turnovers in the game and didn’t commit one in the second half until they dribbled out the shot clock up 16 on their final possession of the game. And as has been the case all season long, the difference-maker down the stretch was Wilbekin, who hit a series of ridiculously tough runners to keep the Panthers at bay. There may not be a player in the country that is as good as Wilbekin with the ball in his hands in crunch time, and I have the feeling that, at some point in the later rounds, that’s going to save the Gators.

But here’s what’s scary: think about what Florida can be if they start hitting their jump shots. On Saturday, the Gators were just 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. On Thursday, they shot just 3-for-12 from deep.

It’s not like they don’t have shooters. Michael Frazier II is as good as anyone in the country. Wilbekin can hit threes. Dorian Finney-Smith is streaky, but he can hit four or five in a given night when he gets it rolling.

Florida is as good as anyone in the country when their shots aren’t dropping.

When they are, they’re near-unbeatable.

As an aside, this is the fourth straight season that the Gators have made the Sweet 16. Patrick Young, Will Yeguete, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather have all reached the Sweet 16 in every year they’re been in college. They’ve actually reached three Elite 8s as well, but they’ve never made the Final Four.

Is this the year they break that barrier?

Latest Posts
  1. Gonzaga once again puts together a formidable non-conference schedule

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The Bulldogs are guaranteed games against five NCAA tournament teams and could play more based upon what happens in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

  2. Virginia announces addition of four-star forward, will redshirt

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:56 PM EDT

    mamadi diakite

    Virginia is trying to figure out the academic situation of Mamadi Diakite, who might enroll in 2015.

  3. Ongoing investigation results in Minnesota athletics administrator taking leave of absence

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:51 PM EDT

    University of Minnesota University of Minnesota

    This comes less than a month after AD Norwood Teague stepped down for his own alleged sexual misconduct.

  4. Shin issue to sideline Mississippi State freshman forward two months

    Sep 3, 2015, 5:22 PM EDT

    Ben Howland AP

    Joe Struggs, who didn’t enroll until last month, has been dealing with issues with both of his shins.

  5. Throwback Thursday: Juan Dixon and company win Maryland’s lone national title

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Juan Dixon #3 of the University of Maryland holds the ball Getty Images

    This year’s Terrapins will look to match what Dixon, Steve Blake and company accomplished just over 13 years ago.

  6. Mixtape of Rivals150 Class of 2016 guard Jalen Johnson (VIDEO)

    Sep 3, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    jalen johnson

    Jalen Johnson is one of the best in-game dunkers in the Class of 2016.

  7. Atlantic 10 releases full conference schedule

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:20 PM EDT

    Bob McKillop AP

    The Atlantic 10 released its full conference schedule. The league has 33 games on NBCSN this season.

  8. Michigan State sees remodeled practice facility after returning from Italy (VIDEO)

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Tom Izzo, Alvin Ellis III AP

    Michigan State saw the newly-renovated practice facility when they arrived back from a trip to Italy.

  9. Four-star power forward/center verbally commits to North Carolina

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Roy Williams AP

    With two seniors in their current front court, adding a big man helps North Carolina moving forward.

  10. St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin throws out first pitch at Mets game (VIDEO)

    Sep 2, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Mullin threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game back in late-May.

  11. Big East announces program geared towards helping freshmen transition to college

    Sep 2, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    BigEastLogo

    The men’s basketball freshmen will meet in New York City September 12 & 13.

  12. ACC releases its full conference schedule

    Sep 2, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Mike Brey AP

    The ACC is loaded this year, which will make for a fun conference schedule.

  13. Four-star Class of 2016 guard sets five official visits

    Sep 2, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    tyson carter

    Mississippi guard Tyson Carter is one of the biggest stock risers of July.

  14. Two players in Arkansas forgery case plead not guilty

    Sep 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Marcus Paige, Anton Beard AP

    Two in the Arkansas forgery case pleaded not guilty.

  15. Josh Jackson, Harry Giles stay at top of new Rivals150 Class of 2016 national rankings

    Sep 2, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Harry Giles (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Josh Jackson and Harry Giles are staying on top of the Rivals150 in the Class of 2016.

  16. The American releases full conference schedule

    Sep 2, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The American has some talented teams entering the 2015-16 race.

  17. Jalen Rose planning a book about the Fab Five

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Jalen Rose isn’t done telling the story of the Fab Five. A new book is reportedly coming.

  18. Harvard point guard Siyani Chambers out for the season with torn ACL

    Sep 2, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    Siyani Chambers, Anthony Thompson AP

    Siyani Chambers is leaving Harvard for the year after a torn ACL.