Florida Gators Season Preview – CBB Handicapping
I think I always like the Gators a little more than I should. Last year I loved their deep backcourt and they rode it to a second place finish in the SEC and some tournament success.
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Florida Gators Odds to Win (By bovada.lv)
2011-12 Record: 26-11
Odds to win title: +1200
Odds to win conference: +285
Erving Walker – The departing point guard may have been small in stature but he was a huge impact player for the Gators.
Bradley Beal – Lived up to his recruiting billing so much so that he parlayed a great frosh season into being a top pick…sneaky rebounder at 6’3” who led the team.
Braxton Ogbueze – The Gators might have a viable replacement for Walker with this super quick athletic combo guard.
Michael Frazier – Top shooter who will look to replace some of the outside production that left with Beal.
Devon Walker – Lanky wing should help the Gators on defense to start and then eventually become a solid rotation player.
Kenny Boynton – One of the best scorers in the country. The question is whether he will round out it game and become a more complete player as a senior.
Patric Young – Beast of a body has not translated into high rebounding production. He could easily become a double-double machine thought.
Mike Rosario – A pretty good scorer at Rutgers he just never fit in last year. This year the backcourt is much less crowded so he might shine
This year they return several key contributors from last season who with improvement should enable them to have similar success – maybe more. They should battle Missouri for the role of second best team in the SEC and those games should be fun to watch.
This year’s Florida team should again be very good with a chance of being great if Boynton and Young can improve their games. Young has to become the force inside that his body type is built for while Boynton needs to become a more selective and effective scorer. If both improve than the cast of players around them will too and this team will able to beat anybody. They have experience and a nice mix to compete in the SEC and beyond.
This was a very good shooting team last year. The loss of Beal and Walker stings but with the players on the roster able to fire from deep and convert in close Florida should again have plenty of scoring (they were in the top 20 in ppg last season). If Young develops an inside game you can look for center Erik Murphy to become an even more dangerous weapon on the perimeter. The could develop into a lethal inside out combo.
There might not be a true point guard on the roster this season. Obgueze is a blur of an athlete but isn’t accustomed to facilitating an offense in a traditional way. Neither is Rosario or Boynton who will both log heavy minutes. The lack of a true floor general might have impeded the development of Young to date even it does not hinder the team in general. Walker was far from a traditional pass first lead guard.
Dec 5 – The Sunshine State is better for hoops than you think and this game between the Gators and FSU should be between top 25 teams.
Dec. 15 – Arizona welcomes the Gators to the desert for a nice intersectional matchup of ranked squads.
Mar. 9 – The Gators close their season at Kentucky, the second of two contests against the defending champions.
Kentucky will be good but not as good a last year so the SEC should be really tight. With Mizzou joining the league I think there could be some nice battles within the top tier of the league with the Gators right there. Coach Billy Donovan has a nice non-confererence schedule lined up and the league is tough so don’t expect the Gators to put up a silly record. They will get the wins they need to qualify for March Madness with ease and then win at least a couple of games as a 4 or 5 seed. After that it is matchups. This team is always in the thick of things.