TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- A rematch of the 2000 national championship is on tap on Sunday when second-ranked Florida faces No. 7 Michigan State in the second round of the South Region.
Michigan State (20-12) claimed its second national title with an 89-76 victory over Florida in the championship game behind an inspired effort by Mateen Cleaves. One current Spartan, Aloysius Anagonye, and three Gators - Matt Bonner, Brett Nelson and Justin Hamilton - played in that contest. Nelson scored 11 points off the bench.
Florida (25-7) snapped a three-game losing streak with an 85-55 rout of Sam Houston State in the first round. David Lee scored 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead the Gators.
Gators freshman Anthony Roberson netted 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Roberson is a Saginaw, Michigan native whom coach Tom Izzo has watched since his junior high school days. But he chose to play for Gators coach Billy Donovan over Izzo.
Florida has not advanced past the second round since its run to the championship game three years ago.
The teams split two meetings over the last two seasons and Florida posted a 74-70 victory last season on December 5, 2001. Bonner scored 23 points as the Gators built a 20-point lead with 3:45 remaining before almost giving all of it away.
Michigan State won for the sixth time in seven games with a 79-64 victory over Colorado. Freshman Erazem Lorbek scored 17 points and Chris Hill drained four 3-pointers and netted 15 points.
Alan Anderson scored 14 points and had seven assists and freshman reserve Paul Davis added 10 points for Michigan State, which has won four straight second-round games. The normally low-scoring Spartans had a season-high 44 points in the first half.
The winner advances to meet either Xavier or Maryland on Friday in San Antonio.