As head coach Billy Donovan said, by the end of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament he would have a clear understanding of what his team looks like and after a disappointing showing, we have all seen what this Florida Gators team will look like, at least during this early portion of the season.
Here are the 5 Takeaways from Florida’s run at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in Paradise Island.
Plain and simple the offense was horrid the three games Florida played in the tournament. Against Georgetown, UF shot 35 percent from the field, 34 percent against UAB and lastly against 32-percent against UNC. A whopping three games of shooting under 40 percent won’t help you win against many teams in general. The team’s 3-point shooting wasn’t any better. 26, 30 and 22 were the percentages from beyond the arc in the span of those three games. Overall, Florida is now averaging 38 percent shooting on the season and 29 percent for three. If the Gators plan to win games in December, their efficiency would have to rise immensely, if not, numbers never lie and poor shooting will be the chink in the armor for this team.
A .500 record
The Gators are 3-3. Who knew that would be the case. This is Florida’s first 3-3 start since the 1996-97 season, when Florida would finish with a 13-17 record and went 5-11 in the SEC. The losses come from team’s who have a combined 16-3 record. What has also contributed to the team’s first even record is the lack of bench scoring in the last game. The Gators bench shot a season-low 3-of-14 versus UNC, but the bench entered the game getting 42 percent from their reserves. It’s going to be difficult for Florida to rise to a higher winning percentage when they face Kansas, as it they can slip below .500, which would be devastating.
Top Tier Experience
The Battle 4 Atlantis tournament would end revealing how the Gators would matchup against tough non-conference opponents early in the schedule. They already faced a tough Miami team earlier in the season and with games against Georgetown and UNC, Florida gained much experience playing against talented teams this early. UAB isn’t considered a top team, but the way they gave Florida a ride throughout their matchup, gave the Gators a test to close out an opponent down the stretch, which they did. The tough non-conference schedule doesn’t end there for the Gators. They play No. 11 Kansas next, which will be another test for this team to try and beat a tough opponent and gain an identity against a quality team. UF will also play UCONN later in the month, a team they loss twice to last season. This is the time for Florida to climb over some obstacles and earn an edge over ranked opponents.
Not 100 Percent
At times it’s tough to judge this Florida team, especially considering forward Dorian Finney-Smith and guard Eli Carter recovering from early season injuries, Chris Walker breaking the ice with a couple of games to start his season and Alex Murphy not being available until mid-December. But nonetheless, Florida isn’t 100 percent. The biggest difference that can come out of recuperating now is getting Finney-Smith and Carter, two of their top scorers to fully heal from their injuries. Both Finney-Smith and Carter gave it a run and it was uncertain if they would even play in the Bahamas, and they got on the court, but weren’t as productive as they could’ve been. You can definitely tell their injuries bothered their style of play. Finney-Smith and Carter went for a combined 0-for-8 from the 3-point line against UNC and both each totaled less than five points. In order for the Gators to win, Finney-Smith and Carter will have to be healthy because Michael Frazier II, who is the team’s leading scorer, can’t do it by himself.
Point Guards on the Rise?
Six games into the season no one would’ve thought point guard Kasey Hill would shoot poorly and at the same time no one thought Chris Chiozza would be playing sufficient amount of minutes beside Hill. But as of late the two are picking the their game up. Against UNC, Hill had the best game ever in a Florida uniform. He eclipsed his game-high in points of 13 set last season against North Florida to record 20 and converted 10-of-12 from the free throw line, which was another career mark. He drove in the lane, and shot deep jumpers and showed the first signs of what he can do developing into the new role he’s taken on. The question is if he can keep it up efficiently from here. For Chiozza, he’s just a freshman, but has shown signs of becoming great as the season progresses. After scoring his career high of 13 points and snagging six steals against UAB, which was two shy of a UF single-game record, Chiozza is maturing by the game. They are taking small steps on getting better, but it’s in the right direction.