Florida Gators 27 – Georgetown Hoyas 23; What 1 Half Of A Basketball Game Can Tell Us

On Friday night, the Florida Gators men’s basketball team played half of a game against the Georgetown Hoyas on an aircraft carrier. The court–temporarily housed on the USS Bataan–became unworthy for use and both teams decided it was in their best interests to call the game at the half. That can happen when you play outside on a court meant to be used inside. You generally don’t find the same sort of condensation problems unless your gym has serious air conditioning issues. In the end, there never was an end and the game was canceled after only 20 minutes of play. The Gators won–if you can call it a win, which you really can’t because it doesn’t count–27-23, so they have that going for them.

Will Yeguete - Florida Gators

We only saw 20 minutes of action, but it was enough to give us a brief glimpse into what the 2012-13 version of the Florida Gators may look like. We didn’t learn a lot–and the entire half could have been an aberration of what the season will really bring–but we were taught a thing or two about what’s ahead.

First of all, this looks to be another team that will live and die by the three-point shot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but keep a lookout for the first time the Gators fall behind by 9-12 points in an important game. How they try to get back into that game will be extremely telling. This team has the talent to win games behind the arc, but also the ability to lose them.

Without a true point guard, the Gators don’t have an assist man. The assists will come, but Florida needs someone to find Kenny Boynton for the open shot. Boynton can’t find himself and works well receiving the ball. He has the ability to play the point guard position, but the Gators would benefit greatly from having a distributor to play alongside him. Braxton Ogbueze will have to grow up quickly.

On that note, so will all of the freshman. It looks like they will be relied upon early and often this season. Billy Donovan likes fresh players on the court and to do so, he’ll have to play the four true freshman. They’ll need to get up to the speed of the college game immediately.

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Now, back to Kenny Boynton, the leader in him needs to be present all season–on the court and off of it. It’s his team and he sets the pace. Whether it’s bringing the ball down the court or playing the two, Boynton is the player the rest of the roster feeds off of. He wants to win during his senior season and that will rub off on the others.

While Kenny Boynton is the leader, the most important player may be someone else. Will Yeguete has become more vital to the success of the Gators than anyone could have imagined. He is a 110% player. The energy he plays with propels the Gators when they need it. It’s hard to look past Boynton and Patric Young, but Will Yeguete is the key to a far run this season.

Along with Yeguete and Young, Erik Murphy makes up the trio a big men. The Gators will play teams with more size, but they have the talent and muscle to keep up. Murphy is the only one listed above 6’9″, but all three have to play bigger. Teams will try to out-muscle them under the basket and they must keep up the intensity and hustle up for the entire season.

It was good to see the zone defense in action on Friday night. Florida did work keeping the ball away from Georgetown’s bigs. It won’t be surprising if Donovan goes back to it against other teams with talented big men. It seemed to work for the most part and will return at points this season.

Finally, a point of criticism. The Gators must cut early turnovers. There were times early in the course of the game when Florida had a real chance to open it up, but turnovers kept Georgetown in it. The Gators have to get whatever early jitters they have out of the way and score early and often. Luckily, it didn’t lead to Florida falling behind, but it could in the future. Eliminate those early turnovers before it becomes a real problem.

The Gators have played a full game between Friday and now, so we’ve had a chance to see them in action once again. However, Georgetown was a talented opponent and gave us some insight to what we might see from Florida this season. All told, there was plenty to be happy about. This looks like a well put together team that has the capability to have a very successful season.

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6 Responses to Florida Gators 27 – Georgetown Hoyas 23; What 1 Half Of A Basketball Game Can Tell Us

  1. Evandagator says:

    I like this team a lot. That being said. I don’t think the aircraft carrier game told much of anything about the team. The game against Alabama State though, that told more of a foresight into the Gators’ future.

    Though I love the cause, I hate the idea of the carrier game. The fact that you’re going to try to have an outdoor game on top of a ship in Jacksonville in the middle of November at night seems like an obvious possible disaster (The same thing goes for the game in Charleston). The condensation on the floor didn’t quite play to the Gators’ style of running the floor consistently and tiring opponent (Without risking injuries).

    Furthermore, did anyone else think the game was absolutely terrible to watch on TV? I couldn’t see anything, and the camera angles were truly awful.

    • The game against an extremely overmatched Alabama State team told us more about the Gators than a matchup against a worthy opponent (despite the fact that it was only a half)?

      Sorry Evan, but have to disagree with you on that one. Games against Nebraska-Kearney or Alabama State tell us nothing. You could have sat Boynton, Young and Yeguete for those games and still come out on top. Not to belittle the…uh…little programs, but that game was a glorified scrimmage. There were no obstacles to overcome in that game. It wasn’t a challenge and didn’t force anyone to rise to the occasion.

      On the other hand, the game against Georgetown gave us some insight into how Donovan might run the offense with Boynton at the point and showed us the Gators can play zone defense if they need to.

      • Evandagator says:

        No, no no. To be honest, the Georgetown game looked like pure chaos. And I don’t trust outdoor hoops. Also, I wouldn’t discount Alabama State. They’re not as bad of a team as the Gators made them look. Sure they’re not Georgetown caliber–or even SEC caliber–but the game showed how effective the Gators’ defense could be. Sure other teams have a way higher chance of knocking down those shots, but the fact that the Gators nearly contested on all of Alabama State’s shots and the pressure that the Gators were able to create showed something. It wasn’t a meaningless game.

        One cannot take enough out of simply one half of the Georgetown game. And the number 1 reason of course: I don’t trust outdoor hoops.

        • Regardless of if you trust outdoor hoops or not, the conditions impact both teams. It’s like football in the rain…both teams have to play in it.

          As for Alabama State, the game didn’t show us all that much. The Gators may have contested shots and good for them for giving the effort, but they could have won that game by 20 with half the effort. It’s like taking this year’s football win over Kentucky as gospel to how the Gators would perform the rest of the season. The level of competition means there’s a lot less we can take out of a win. Now a loss or complete meltdown of a miracle victory (see: Louisiana-Lafayette) is a different story, but beating Alabama State by 49 isn’t telling. What will be telling is how the team performs tonight against a quality opponent.

          The good thing that we can take from the Alabama State victory is that the Gators didn’t play down to their opponent. They played like they should and that’s good, but it’s a win against an inferior opponent in the fashion it should have been a victory. Move right on to the next game.

          • Evandagator says:

            The point was that the Gators didn’t put in half of the effort… whereas during the Georgetown game, it didn’t seem like either of the teams wanted to be there, at least in terms of actually playing the basketball game.

            Of course, this Wisconsin game tonight will tell more than any of the other games up to this point in the season.

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