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Virginia, Florida to throw down in 'smash mouth' hoops game

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 17, 2017 at 2:27 p.m.



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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — No. 4 seed Florida (25-8) vs. No. 5 seed Virginia (23-10)

Second round, East Region; Orlando, Florida; 8:40 p.m. EDT

BOTTOM LINE: Matchup features two of the nation's top defenses, so don't expect a high-scoring affair. The Cavaliers rank second in the country in defensive efficiency, two spots higher than the Gators. "It's going to be a war of attrition," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. Added Florida coach Mike White: "It's going to be smash mouth." Gators point guard Kasey Hill may have summed it up best: "I wouldn't be surprised if it's 0-0 for the first 5 minutes. First one to 50" wins, Hill quipped.

MAN DOWN: Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins, the team's leading rebounder, is doubtful to play because of strep throat. The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 6.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. He also leads the team in blocks (43) and steals (33). "He's has been the heart and soul of our defense," Bennett said. "This virus is hanging on. He's lost some weight and just can't. ... I'm not expecting him to play, but you never know."

BOUNCING BACK: Florida guard KeVaughn Allen, the team's leading scorer, is looking to end a three-game shooting slump. Allen has made 10 of 37 shots (27 percent) in his last three outings, including 7 of 26 from 3-point range. He was 1 for 11 in the opening round. "It'll be good just to see the first shot go down," Allen said. "I've just got to continue to stay aggressive."

DID YOU KNOW: Virginia and Florida last played in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Gators won that one in dominating fashion, 71-45.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP\_Top25

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The Associated Press

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