VETTEL: Gator Hoops - When Will It End?

The Gator Basketball team must think the 2005-06 season is a live action reality series based on the game show Jeopardy. They keep coming up with the answers to every question that comes up!

Questions Answered...

  • Where will the points come from? The Gators are scoring almost 84 points a game and have five starters averaging in double figures.
  • What will they do for long-range shooting? Lee Humphrey is on a pace to break the school record for three-point shots made in a season while making an unheard of 55 percent from beyond the arc. Taurean Green (.463) is shooting a higher percentage than either Walsh or Roberson did last season.
  • How will they deal with a lack of depth? The bench quartet of Richard, Moss, Huertas and Hodge is providing 19 points and eight rebounds a night. And playing a very important 60 minutes.
  • How will this young group compete on the road? They beat Wake Forest and Syracuse in New York and have road wins over Georgia, Providence and Miami. All five teams have winning records overall.
  • With no senior starters, what will they do for leadership? The all for one, one for all approach has rendered this virtually moot.
  • Who will take the clutch shot at the end of the game? The Gators have won every game by five points or more, but in the closest games no one has shied away from the basketball.
  • How will an inexperienced squad cope with adversity? Well, that remains a bit of a mystery because the closest game was a five-point win. But Florida has shown moxie in rallying from down 17 to FSU and nine at Miami.

So, that leaves just one question. When will this team finally lose?

The Schedule Ahead

  • January 11 versus Mississippi State --- The Bulldogs have lost much from last year and have struggled early in this campaign despite their 11-and-3 record. State lost to Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana in November and Akron last month. They did edge Arkansas in their SEC opener, but I can't see them winning in the O'Dome.
  • January 14 versus Auburn --- The Tigers threw a scare into the Gators last year, thanx to a phenomenal performance from freshman Toney Douglas. Well, he's now sitting out a year at FSU and Auburn has a long way to go. A 74-50 drubbing at Vanderbilt leaves little doubt they will be overmatched.
  • January 18 versus Savannah State --- They are coming into this week sky high after a win. Hell, any win makes them happy since it's the ONLY ONE they have. The law firm (Swanson, Barry and Tyler) combine for a dozen.
  • January 21 @ Tennessee --- The Gators will head to Rocky Top 17-and-0 having broken a slew of school records already. Still, this game is a scary one. The Vols have taken to new Coach Bruce Pearl and are 10-and-1 after a win at South Carolina. They lead the SEC in scoring (84.3 pt./g) and have two superb guards in Chris Lofton and C.J. Watson. Florida has an advantage inside but this one might come down to who is shooting it best.
  • January 25 @ South Carolina --- The second and easier part of a two-game roadie finds the Gators in Columbia against one of the lower-scoring teams in the league. There's a lot of grumbling in the Palmetto State over the mediocre tenure of Dave Odom. In his fifth year in Columbia, Odom has one NCAA bid, two NITs and their 9-and-5 record indicates another NIT-picking season. It's hard to see this one getting away.
  • January 28 versus Vanderbilt --- This is something I never get to write in the fall. Vanderbilt is as good as any other SEC team. They can really shoot and Coach Kevin Stallings has upgraded their athleticism. Mario Moore gives them one thing you have to have to beat the Gators, an excellent point guard. Plus they got smart guys, so the Rowdy Reptiles may not be as effective as usual.
  • January 31 @ Ole Miss --- The Rebels were surprise winners at Alabama Saturday and one thing you can count on is they will play hard and be as physical as the officials will let them be. Florida historically does not play well in cozy, sparsely attended Tad Smith Coliseum, but in terms of ability this one should not be close.

So that's it. Can the Gators get to February unbeaten? Doubtful, but I'm not telling this group there's anything they can't do. If they do stumble, bank on a team from Tennessee doing the deed.

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Have a great week.

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