MILWAUKEE -- For Marquette to advance beyond the Sweet 16, the Golden Eagles will need to prevent Florida from getting good looks from 3-point range on Thursday night.
There was not a single team in all of Division I college basketball that made more 3-point shots this season than the Gators.
"They shoot a lot of threes, and they make a lot of threes," Marquette senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom said.
Florida has four legitimate threats to have big games from beyond the arc, beginning with the Gators' leading scorer, junior guard Kenny Boynton. More than half of Boynton's points this season came from made 3-point baskets. Plus, Boynton makes 41.5 percent of his threes.
"I think they're a great offensive team," Marquette senior forward Jae Crowder said. "They shoot a lot of three-pointers. We know that. And something like 36 percent of their misses, they rebound. That's a pretty good number for them. We'll be fine and we'll be ready to compete."
However, after watching the tape of Florida's game this season, Crowder wasn't impressed with the Gators on both ends of the floor.
"They lack a few things defensively," Crowder said. "But they bring pressure in the frontcourt and try to get you rattled a little bit. I think if we handled that, we'll get a lot of things we want on offense."
One player that Marquette will have to keep a close eye on is guard Bradley Beal. Still an 18-year-old freshman, Beal is expected to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming NBA draft if he leaves school after one year. Beal plays the most minutes on Florida's team, is their second leading scorer, and, despite being 6-foot-3, is the Gators' leading rebounder with an average of 6.7 per game. It is likely that Johnson-Odom will draw the defensive assignment against Beal.
"Their perimeter is extremely explosive," coach Buzz Williams said of Florida. "They attempt 26 threes a game and they make 10. They make a lot of threes and they make a lot of dunks. Their atypical."
In the rare occasions that the Gators do go inside, sophomore big man Patric Young is an NBA lottery pick type of talent. This season, Young made 61.8 percent of his shots -- an incredibly high rate -- and averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds.
"Patric Young is a beast," Williams said.
Marquette, as has been the case all season, will need big games from its two stars -- Crowder and Johnson-Odom. While Florida had five players average double figures in scoring this season, the Golden Eagles had just the two.
Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year, has delivered in both NCAA Tournament games so far, averaging 21 points and 14.5 rebounds. Johnson-Odom has averaged 18.5 points in Marquette's wins over BYU and Murray State.
If the Golden Eagles win, they will face either No. 1 Michigan State or Big East rival No. 4 Louisville in the West region's Elite Eight.
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