Basketball

Florida at Providence Preview

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Stand-off in Providence: Tuesday the underachieving Gators will square off on the road against the Friars at Providence.  Despite being at 6-5, the Friars are dangerous at home having only lost once in their building thus far into the season.  To turn the season around it is imperative the Gators take the Friars seriously and revert back to their habits of the recently ended four-game win streak.  Easier said than done.    

Last Time in Action

  The Gators are currently coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Butler Bulldogs amid a hunt to establish consistency.  Against the Bulldogs, the Gators held their own until the final 3:20 of the first half getting outscored 15-4. The conclusion of the first half turned into a coach’s nightmare as the Gators found themselves down 10.  This came as a result of being a step slow on the defensive end and poor effort fighting through screens and pin-downs chasing shooters.  

Florida managed to cut the deficit to six, but to counter the Bulldogs took the fight to the interior. The Gators failed to adjust from their 3-2 zone that Butler tore apart.  In the second-half Butler forced Florida into bad shots while only taking quality shots of their own. Florida kept shooting away while down to find the homerun play and spark a run that never came.  From start to finish, Butler played with a heightened level of intensity that eluded Florida the whole game.    

Path to Success

A win on the road is the perfect antidote to the early season woes plaguing the Gators.  Florida will have its work cut out for them as they find a way to contain sophomore shooting guard David Duke.  Duke is lethal from beyond the arc averaging averaging 55% from deep on four attempts a game from three over the past five games. Look for Florida to actively try and run Duke off the three point line. Duke will be guarded primarily by Scottie Lewis, a hellacious defender.    

To win this game the Gators must play with discipline, limiting their turnovers and crashing the defensive glass.  About 29% of the Friars points come from transition baskets off opposing teams turnovers according to ESPN.com. Florida cannot afford to give a motion offense like their opponents, second chance opportunities.   

In this contest I expect a close ball game until midway through the second half. With eight minutes to go in regulation I have the Gators locking down on the defensive end. This blue collar throw-down should finish 75-66 in favor of Florida.

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