The first four games of the Sweet 16 are in the books in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Four teams will be advancing to the Elite Eight and four teams will be heading home following Thursday night's intense action. One of the teams advancing will be the No. 7 Florida Gators, who continue to play with focus and passion. They displayed plenty of both on Thursday, as they dispatched the No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles, 68-58.
Fans on both teams are discussing and dissecting the game Andy Hutchins at Gators blog Alligator Army had this to say:
Florida's playing very, very well, but it's not playing the brand of basketball we had grown accustomed to seeing the Gators play. These Gators gnash their teeth and run, scrap for rebounds, play defense like they value almost every possession, and have cut down on the lapses and silly errors and bad shots — and few of their good shots are even falling. There's significant room above the current water level here, and, after feeling like Florida had tapped its potential, I have seen the Gators play much better — but I still think Florida hasn't put it all together, and still believe the Gators are legitimate national championship contenders as is.
Meanwhile, over at Marquette blog Anonymous Eagle, Mr. Kensington reflected on the loss:
Our hats go off to the Gators, who came with a pretty effective game plan to beat us today. But I think even they would admit, that they did not play their best tonight. They made just 7 three-pointers and shot only 40% in the win. They probably should've blown Marquette out of the gym tonight, but didn't. In fact, Marquette got within 6 of the lead, with 3:20 to play. But the big shot just never came. The boys tried to make a late charge, but just couldn't buy a basket when they needed it most.
Both sides agree that the Gators will need to do better if they hope to take home the championship, but they were effective enough to get the job done on Thursday.
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub. There you'll find a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.