Florida's Scottie Wilbekin celebrates during the game against Kentucky at Rupp Arena earlier this year. / Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE — How does Florida coach Billy Donovan plan to try to relocate Dunk City out of the NCAA tournament? By containing the guys who set up all those slams that get teammates and crowds roaring with excitement.
The hard work, of course, is getting the ball to an open player to slam the ball home, which the Gators' Sweet 16 opponent FGCU has been marvelous at. The Eagles have scored almost 20 percent of their points off dunks, one of the highest percentages in college hoops.
“The one thing I would say is they are outstanding in transition. They get out on the break, they push it really hard, their point guard (Brett) Comer is a great assist guy,'' Donovan said. "He reminds me a lot of (Missouri's) Phil Pressey, not so much the way they are built so to speak, but the vision that he has.
"He is one of the best passers in the country. And when you’ve got a point guard that’s got that kind of vision and can make pinpoint passes like that, it takes their team to a different level. And in transition, where they do get a lot of those lobs, you’ve got to do a really good job of getting back in transition and taking care of the basketball and doing those kinds of things. Because if they get out and they space it with their speed and quickness, they are really, really good on the break, putting the ball on the rim and they’ve got athletic frontcourt guys and wing players that can go up there and get it and finish.''
That means it's another assignment for the Gators' stopper — Scottie Wilbekin, who has been thrown at top point guards all season to try to shut them down. Kenny Boynton will share in that role.
"A player who can hit challenged shots, even if you’re there (on him) and he’s making shots, you can’t get discouraged because he’s going to make tough shots. You’ve just got to keep trying to play good defense,'' said Wilbekin, who uses the same strategy in deflecting passes.
He'll keep trying to slow down Comer and make sure he doesn't get an easy look at a open teammate to flip it to him.
Donovan's attitude with teams that like to get out on the break is a pretty simple one. Bring it.
"I think this time of year you’re going to always play to your style of play and to your system. We’re a team that likes to fast-break, they like to fast-break,'' he said.
"And the same thing could be said for Northwestern (State).
"If you go back and look at the Minnesota game against UCLA, they scored 29 points in transition. I don’t think anybody this time of year is going to go away from their identity and who they are. I think that Florida Gulf Coast is going to play to their identity and we’re going to try to play to our identity.''
The Gators actually ended up running Northwestern State into exhaustion, winning 79-47 in UF's NCAA tourney opener last Friday.