Florida Gators (4-0) vs Seton Hall Pirates (3-0)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida; H.P. Fieldhouse (Disney’s Wide World of Sports)
November 24, 2016; 8:30 P.M.
The Gators have their hands full with a very talented Seton Hall bunch that went into a difficult arena at Iowa a week ago and came away with a 91-83 win.
The defending Big East Tournament champs return 10 letter winners and four starters including 65 percent of the team’s scoring and 83 percent of the rebounding from its 2015-16 squad.
Head coach Kevin Willard has a versatile group that shoots 54% from the field and 42% from three-point range. They have four players that average 15 points or more per game and nine players that average double digit minutes per contest, meaning they aren’t afraid to go to the bench. They average 88 points per game in their three wins this season.
Junior forwards Desi Rodriquez and Angel Delgado combine to average 21 rebounds per game. Delgado ranks 4th in the country with his 13.7 boards per contest.
If there is an Achilles Heel so far with this team it seems to be from the free throw lin. The highest percentage among all five starters is Rodriquez at 61%, all fur other starters are shooting 50% or less so far from the charity stripe this season.
The Pirates only have five players that have made a three point attempt on the year with junior guard Khade Carrington hitting 67% on 10-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc and freshman Myles Powell hitting 45% on 9-of-20 shooting from the three-point line.
For the Gators on defense it has to start with slowing Delgado who gets a third of his rebounds from the offensive end of the court and puts in his 15 points per game. Centers John Egbunu and Kevarrius Hayes will have their hands full.
Carrington and Myles out-shoot the Gators from three point land by a wide margin. Florida will have to guard that as well.
Size wise, here seems only one real mismatch and that is for whatever guard will have to cover Carrington.
The Gators will counter with an improved free throw shot (75%) so far this season. They are holding opponents to 38% shooting from the field through four games. The Gators are also blocking 6.3 shots per game as compared to 3.0 per game for the Pirates and averaging 9.3 steals to 7.0.
THE TOURNAMENT: The winner of this contest will play at 9:30 p.m. on Friday against the winner of Gonzaga v Qunnipiac. The loser will play the loser of that contest at 7:30 p.m. Each team is guaranteed at least three games in the tournament and the tournament championship will be held Sunday at 1:30 p.m.