FSU vs Florida preview and game thread

J. Meric

The Gators and the Seminoles meet for the 64th time

It's an understatement to say that the Gators are on a roll. They're undefeated and their average margin of victory has been 25 points. Every game has been a double-digit margin. They're yet to trail in the 2nd half. They're yet to trail at halftime. They're yet to trail after the first five minutes of the game.

They're ridiculously deep, and have more consensus top-100 players on their roster than any other team in the nation. Seven players are averaging at least 7.5 points per game, led by senior Kenny Boynton's 14.5 ppg. F Erik Murphy (who is listed as questionable for the game), C Patric Young and G Mike Rosario are all averaging double figures.

Their offense and defense are both ranked nationally in the top-5.

On the other side, the Seminoles are reeling. They just lost at home to Mercer. There are questions all over the roster. This team has been horribly inconsistent. If the team from the Coaches vs Cancer Tournament shows up, this will be a great game. If not, this will be a rout.

The team's veterans need to step up - Michael Snaer, Ian Miller and Okaro White have to take this team over or the season is in danger of slipping into mediocrity. And if that happens, FSU fans will abandon the Tuck in droves. Seminole fan support is already notoriously weak, and fair weather fans will move on to other things (h/t to Joey Buckets).

But tonight the Noles have a chance to win over those same fans. The Tuck should be hopping, and the nations No. 1 recruit is in the house.

On offense, FSU has to take care of the ball. Florida runs a really slow system, and the value of each possession is heightened. They need to space the floor and get dribble penetration. Without breaking down the Gators defense off the bounce, it's a very difficult defense to get a good shot against.

On defense, it's more of the same. The Seminoles have been getting killed by dribble penetration and young players who don't understand the defense. They don't understand where they're supposed to be. When the Gator guards have a hard time penetrating, they'll start settling for jumpers. And that will give FSU a chance. The Noles also have to figure out a way to rebound. The Gators live on extending possessions with offensive boards, which is a big weakness for this FSU team.

Also, note that FSU has yet to play a single possession this season in a zone defense. That's been a bizarre adjustment after last year's defense which could switch at will, sometimes in the middle of a possession. This might be the game where Hamilton goes zone and tries to steal a possession out of a timeout. I wouldn't expect much of it, but perhaps here and there.

The game tips at 7pm from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Gators are a 6.5 favorite in Vegas, and Pomeroy has them -9.

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