Florida (32-6) vs. UCLA (32-6) Monday, 9:21 p.m. ET, CBS, RCA Dome
It's unlikely that anyone picked these two teams to be playing for the national championship at the beginning of the season. They're both young, aren't always flashy, and on paper they don't look like title teams. But UCLA and Florida are well coached, play hard and have young stars who have matured throughout the season. This matchup may not turn out to be a classic, but it will be a hard-fought battle with contrasting styles and good defense.
Florida's Taurean Green Soph., 6-0, 177 Stats: 13.6 ppg, 4.6 apg
For the Gators to win the title, Green has to be on his game. He's got a good handle and a quick first step, but he has a tendency to take bad shots and get out of the flow of the game. He must stay under control against UCLA, know when to push it and when to pull back. Just as important, he must be at his best defensively against Jordan Farmar. Green has to get over screens and prevent Farmar from getting open looks from 3 and from penetrating into the lane.
UCLA's Jordan Farmar Soph., 6-2, 180 Stats: 13.3 ppg, 5.1 apg
Farmar is the key to UCLA. He's very crafty with the ball and has a quick first step. He's also a good three-point shooter, hitting 3 of 6 in the semifinal win over LSU. Farmar is patient and always finds a way to get his teammates the ball in the right position. He likes to penetrate and dish and come off screens. This is the most important matchup of the game.
When Humphrey gets going from outside, look out. His three quick three-pointers to start the second half in the semifinal sank George Mason, and Florida will try to get him going early against UCLA. The Bruins can't afford to help much against Florida's bigs inside because Humphrey is waiting on the perimeter for his shot. UCLA has to close out quickly on Humphrey and make him put the ball on the floor.
Afflalo has a smooth stroke from the outside, and though he's known more as a shooter, he can also slash to the basket. He'll have a three-inch height advantage against Humphrey and can exploit it if he doesn't become just a jump shooter. Because Afflalo is so long, he'll be able to bother Humphrey's shot, but he must get over screens and prevent wide open looks by Humphrey.
Brewer is very versatile and tough to match up against. He can shoot the 3, score off the dribble and crash the boards. When a play breaks down, Brewer is often the one who makes things happen. A fantastic athlete, he runs the floor well and gets a lot of points off transition.
A warrior who plays very hard, Bozeman will have his hands full with Brewer. And expect Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to draw Brewer at times and vice versa. UCLA doesn't rely on Bozeman to score much, but he's a veteran and brings experience the Bruins lack in other areas. He can handle the ball, but he'll be at a serious size disadvantage against Florida's bigger players inside. He must use his quickness and avoid getting pushed around.