Win Step in Right Direction

Florida's 89-64 win over Charleston Southern is another step towards the Gators' goal of being ready for SEC play in a couple of weeks. Florida got away from the awful individual play that characterized their game against Georgia Southern and returned to the ball movement needed to get much better shots.

Getting better shots normally means better shooting percentages, and it certainly did Wednesday night as the Gators improved from a disastrous 25 percent in Jacksonville to almost 58 percent in the O'Dome.

Florida was out rebounded by nine in the first half, but I wouldn't read too much into those numbers. The Buccaneers took a lot of shots from long range and those shots are more likely to yield more offensive rebounds. By the end of the game, Florida was just minus-one on the glass, but more importantly, the Gators were plus-14 in turnovers and dished out 18 assists.

Nothing Will Come Easy

After two years of mostly wondering how much the team would win by, Gator Basketball fans better get used to wondering IF Florida is going to win. There are no gimmes left on the schedule, no walkover opportunities to develop depth. Florida will have to execute at a high level to win any of their remaining games, and that includes Temple and High Point.

One thing the Gators got that they had been missing was a strong performance from Walter Hodge. The lone veteran on the team, Hodge had been too passive lately, averaging just 6.6 points in the last five games. However, Wednesday night Hodge was a major factor, scoring 16 points with six assists, five steals and no turnovers. The Gators are basically playing with three guards, two of whom are freshmen. Because of that performances like Hodge had in this game need to be the rule, not the exception from here on in.

Florida is 11-1, and probably halfway to assuring itself of an NCAA Tournament berth. But I promise you the next 11 will be a lot tougher to get. And a lot more interesting to watch them go for.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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