Rushed Reactions: #4 Florida 65, #5 Virginia 39Posted by Walker Carey on March 19th, 2017
Rush the Court will be covering the NCAA Tournament from start to finish over the next three weeks.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Virginia’s offensive deficiencies ended its season. Virginia was never going to break any records with its painstaking offensive attack, but criticizing it seemed fruitless given the program’s success over the last several years. Considering tonight’s hapless offensive performance, it is probably time to start questioning if the Cavaliers’ style of play will ever allow them to make a significant NCAA Tournament run. There might not be an appropriate adjective to describe just how anemic the Virginia offense was tonight. Scoring a grand total of 39 points is bad enough, but adding some context to that point total makes it even worse. Tony Bennett’s group shot a ghastly 29.6 percent from the field and converted only one of its 15 three-point attempts (6.7%). It was a truly dreadful performance and it came at the absolute worst time for Virginia.
- Devin Robinson is finding consistency at the right time. Robinson arrived in Gainesville in 2014 as a ballyhooed recruit. Through his first three years as a Gator, however, he has struggled to match production with his copious physical tools. While two games is certainly a small sample size, Robinson is right now playing his best basketball of collegiate career. Just two days after being the best player on the court in Florida’s first round win over East Tennessee State, Robinson once again exerted his dominion in the win over Virginia. A double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds may not seem like dominant numbers, but his length and quickness changed the game for Florida on the defensive end. In the postgame press conference, Robinson noted that he did not take defense seriously enough during his first two years as a Gator and his newly dedicated effort on that end of the floor has allowed for performances like tonight.
- Florida’s guards can change the game with their defense. Mike White made a point to note in his remarks that tonight’s defensive effort was orchestrated by the speed and intensity of guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza — a fairly obvious conclusion for anyone who watched the game. The backcourt duo made life absolutely miserable for Virginia’s guards — London Perrantes was held to a 2-of-12 shooting performance, while freshmen Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome both finished scoreless on a combined 0-of-8 from the field. Virginia had no chance to get its offense in rhythm, as Hill and Chiozza refused to let up for even a single possession.
Player of the Game. Justin Leon, Florida. White also made it a point to note that Leon contributed his best game in a Florida uniform tonight. He was not wrong, as Leon provided eight points in a late first half run that ultimately shattered Virginia’s spirit. Leon was also big on the glass, coming down with 10 rebounds. It was a terrific effort from the senior forward.
- “It wasn’t just one guy. This was a collective effort. These guys all really guarded.” – Florida coach Mike White, expressing how proud he was with his team’s defense.
- “It doesn’t matter who we play. We just are going to play Florida basketball.” – Florida forward Devin Robinson, when asked if he was pleased the Gators will be playing Wisconsin instead of Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen.
- “I don’t even know what was going through my mind. It’s a bunch of emotions, obviously, just it was over. It was over for me. I couldn’t do anything else.” – Virginia guard London Perrantes, discussing what he was thinking as the final seconds of his collegiate career ticked away.
Sights and Sounds. Florida was the most well-represented team of the weekend, with roughly 75 percent of the arena wearing blue and orange and creating a raucous environment. Of course it helped given how well the Gators played, but their fans should be commended for making their presence known in Orlando. It will be interesting to see how well the group travels to Madison Square Garden next weekend.
What’s Next. Florida advances to the Sweet Sixteen where it will play Wisconsin on Friday night in New York City’s East Regional.