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Vintage NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga vs. Florida (1999) Preview

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The coming out party for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Gonzaga v VA X Calvary

In place of the NCAA Tournament, we here at Slipper Still Fits would like to invite you to the Vintage NCAA Tournament. Join us tomorrow evening, at 7:00 pm PT, as we all collectively hit play on the game that spawned a website name, Gonzaga vs. Florida in the Sweet 16 of the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

The dream continues tomorrow as the No. 10 Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the No. 6 Florida Gators in the Sweet 16, the Zags first appearance in the second weekend of the tournament.

We’d like to say that the Zags have pulled the biggest upset to get here, but the rest of the bracket would disagree. This year has not been good for No. 2 seeds. Gonzaga defeated the second-seeded Stanford Cardinal to get to the Sweet 16, and they are joined by fellow No. 10 seeds Miami and Purdue, each of which also defeated a No. 2 seed in the process.

Meet the opponent

Florida Gators, 22-8

The Gators are coming off a season in which they finished third in the SEC with a nice win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Florida holds one of the league’s more balanced offenses. Collectively, Florida averages 80.3 points per game, the 14th-highest mark in the nation.

Freshman Mike Miller leads the charge at a mere 12.2 points per game. He is one of five Florida players to average double-digit points, and that is what makes this team so dangerous. Shutting down one player doesn’t do much good when four other players can more than pick up the slack.

What to watch out for

Guard the perimeter with your life.

The Gators love to push the ball and they love to shoot the three. Florida attempted the third-most threes in the country this season and ranked 27th in the nation on converting those attempts. The Gonzaga offense also likes to push the pace and shoots the three ball even better than Florida. Realistically, this is probably the box score line that decides this game. If Gonzaga can get an edge here, they have a very realistic shot of pulling the upset.

Let the experience carry the Zags.

Don’t get me wrong, the Gators are a good team, and statistically on paper, they are probably the better team than Gonzaga. However, the one area that the Zags have a definitive advantage is in experience. Albeit, this is the Zags first time in the Sweet 16, but the Gators run out their prized freshman trio of Teddy Dupay, Miller, and Udonis Haslem every night. In terms of number of games played in college, Gonzaga has the heavy advantage here.