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Dayton looks to upset Florida

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Dayton (26-10) vs. Florida (35-2)

NCAA Tournament: South Regional Final - Elite Eight
Venue: FedEx Forum
Location: Memphis, TN
Tip-off:Saturday, 6:05 p.m. ET Line: Florida -10.5, Total 132

No. 11 seed Dayton will look to continue its Cinderella run in the NCAA Tournament with its toughest test yet on Saturday when it faces No. 1 overall seed Florida for a chance to reach the Final Four.

Dayton reached the Elite Eight with wins against No. 6 seed Ohio State, third-seeded Syracuse and No. 10 seed Stanford, making the team 7-1 ATS in its past eight games. The Flyers are 20-12 ATS overall this season, including 7-2 (SU and ATS) on neutral courts.

They are also an impressive 11-3 ATS against non-conference foes and 8-3 (SU and ATS) as underdogs this season. The Flyers are 8-1 ATS against teams with a winning percentage of more than 80% this season. Dayton has played ultra stingy defense so far this tournament, giving up 61.3 PPG, but faces one of the nation’s best defensive teams in Florida.

The Gators give up only 57.8 PPG (3rd in Div. I) and are allowing only 56.0 PPG so far in the tournament. Florida has now covered in two straight and seven of its past nine contests to improve to 17-14-2 ATS overall on the season. The Gators are 8-0 SU (4-3-1 ATS) at neutral sites, and 6-4-2 ATS against non-conference opponents.

Their road to the Elite Eight began with an ATS loss against Albany, but they have followed that up with double-digit win-and-covers against Pittsburgh and UCLA. Since 1997, the Gators are 155-113 ATS (58%) against teams that shoot more than 45% from the field.

Dayton’s defensive performance thus far contrasts its inconsistent play during the season, giving up 67.1 PPG on 43.7% FG. However, the Flyers do have potential on the offensive end with 73.4 PPG (98th in Div. I) on 46.6% shooting (60th in Div. I).

No Flyers player averages more than 13 PPG, led by junior SG Jordan Sibert (12.5 PPG), who is knocking down an impressive 43% of his threes this season. After going 4-of-13 from deep in the first two contests, he found his stroke against Stanford, hitting 7-of-12 FG and 4-of-9 threes for 18 points.

Six-foot-seven senior SF Devin Oliver (11.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG) is the team’s top rebounder and passer, helping Sibert threaten from the perimeter with 1.1 threes per game.

Sophomore PF Dyshawn Pierre (11.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG) is also a solid shooter (40% threes) and rounds out the team’s double-digit scorers. He struggled against Stanford with only six points and three turnovers.

SG Vee Sanford (9.7 PPG) and SG Khari Price (6.4 PPG) join Sibert in the backcourt for this team that regularly plays 11 men.

The Gators are arguably the best defensive team in the nation, holding opponents to 39.9% shooting while outrebounding them by +4.9 RPG. Offensively, they tally 71.0 PPG (181st in Div. I) on 46.3% shooting (74th in Div. I).

Their star is SEC Player of the Year PG Scottie Wilbekin (13.1 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.6 SPG), who wasn’t on the court during Florida’s only two losses: He was suspended for the defeat against Wisconsin and missed the final three minutes of a one-point loss to Wisconsin.

He is one of many tenacious defenders on Billy Donovan’s team, joined by C Patric Young (10.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG), PF Dorian Finney-Smith (9.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG) and SF Will Yeguete (5.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG), who all have shut-down defensive capabilities.

SF Casey Prather (14.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG) is the team’s top scorer while SG Michael Frazier II (12.7 PPG) is an incredible shooter, making 45% of his threes this season and 3.1 threes per game. Frazier led Florida past UCLA with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep.

PG Kasey Hill (5.6 PPG, 3.2 APG) also plays important minutes in the backcourt, helping to occasionally spell Wilbekin from ball-handling duties. He showed his value against the Bruins, chipping in a career-high 10 assists and six rebounds.

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