Florida Men’s Basketball head coach Mike White has the task of playing away from Gainesville as the Stephen C O’Connell Center is being refurbished. His team which came up short of the NCAA Tournament last year will travel around the state of Florida playing different teams with a few true road games sprinkled in.
He believes it can be very beneficial for his team.
“From a potential development through learning through your mistakes watching film standpoint, and from a potential computer numbers being a factor standpoint come February or March, if you’re in the hunt,” he said when asked how this schedule can help. “If we have the type of year we could have potentially. From all those standpoints we have positives. The other is you get to play in front of people that don’t normally get a chance to see you play and extend to another part of Gator Nation. Again, would we rather play in the O’Dome? Sure, but we are excited about playing at home on December 21, in the meantime our schedule is brutal and there is a lot of opportunity at the same time.”
White isn’t one to pound the upcoming task in his players’ heads. They understand the task at hand. The plan is to do some different things to combat the extra toughness of the current schedule.
“We haven’t talked about it,” he said. “Our guys read a lot… and they understand that we will do a lot of travelling and we’ve talked to them about some of the ideas we’ve come up with to try to alleviate mental and physical fatigue. Shortening practices, shortening film at times, because we know it’s going to be exhausting at times for these guys. Other than that our guys are really just looking at it just right now, as it’s Florida Gulf Coast in Jacksonville on Friday.
Florida Gators (0-0) vs Florida Gulf Coast University (0-0)
Jacksonville, Florida; Veterans Memorial Arena
November 11, 2016; 7:30 P.M.
BROADCAST: SEC NETWORK+
The Gators take on one of the college basketball darlings from the last few years and the two teams are familiar with each other. The Gators rolled up a 70-50 win over FGCU in Gainesville in late November a year ago. FGCU went 21-14, won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and received a bid to the NCAA Tournament last year because of it.
It hasn’t been hard to scout the Eagles.
“From our game and from late in the season, they have four starters returning,” White said about having film on them even without them playing a game this season. “A few have asked what are they really good at? What are you most concerned about? Their talent… especially for a mid-major team. Coach (Joe) Dooley’s done a wonderful job and they run good stuff and they’re sound and they’re disciplined. They’re really good.
“They have three guards (Christian Terrell, Brandon Goodwin, and Zach Johnson) that could play in our league and be good players in our league.
“They’re starting four-guy Marc-Eddy Norelia, he’s a monster, a heck of a player. He would start on a bunch of teams in our league. I think he’s arguably the best player in their league.
Overall, this isn’t the usual season opener for Florida who is riding a 25 game winning streak in season openers.
“This will be a little bit unique as compared to some other mid-majors when you’re watching personnel clips for the first time,” White said. “Our guys remember it from last year too. They have our respect… as they should. We’ll need to play well Friday.”