SEC rivals Fla., S. Carolina familiar with each other
new york» There’s no need for introductions in the East Regional final. Scouting reports aren’t really necessary.
Fourth-seeded Florida and seventh-seeded South Carolina, two Southeastern Conference foes, will meet Sunday at Madison Square Garden with the winner advancing to the Final Four.
This will be the third meeting between the teams this season with the home team winning both. They are two tough, defensive teams that can get out and run in transition.
“They’re super physical. They pressure a lot, deny a lot of passes. They’re all pretty fundamentally sound. They take a lot of charges and kind of swarm the ball when you drive,” Florida guard Canyon Barry said of the Gamecocks on Saturday. “We have to guard them too. I think it could be a defensive battle and whoever can execute better has a good shot of winning.”
The first game between the teams was a slugfest with South Carolina prevailing 57-53. The Gators missed all 17 of their 3-point attempts, and KeVaughn Allen, Florida’s first-team all-SEC guard, scored one point.
The Gators won the rematch 81-66 with Allen scoring 26 points, and they held South Carolina to 39 percent shooting.
Allen struggled in the first two NCAA Tournament games, scoring a total of 11 points on 3-for-21 shooting. He broke out with a career-high 35 points in the regional semifinal.
“I’m very confident. Whether I miss shots, I still just got to keep shooting it because if I don’t, I kind of feel like I’m hurting my team by not shooting it,” Allen said. “The first two games, it didn’t go well for me how I wanted it to go as far as shooting it. I think I found ways on defense to help my team and just try not to hurt them.”
This is South Carolina’s deepest run in the NCAA Tournament while Florida has been in the Elite Eight six times since 2006, including back-to-back national championships in 2006-07.