vs. FLORIDA GATORS
Tip-off: Friday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Florida -3.5, Total: 127
No. 10 Florida will tip off its season close to home, outdoors on a ship at Jacksonville’s Naval Station Mayport, against Georgetown on Friday night.
Florida will have a slightly different look this season. Last year they often deployed a four-guard lineup. But with Bradley Beal and Erving Walker, their best shooter and point guard, no longer with the Gators, UF will use more traditional looks this season. Georgetown has some big shoes to fill as well. The Hoyas will be trying to replace their top three scorers—wings Jason Clark (14.0 PPG) and Hollis Thompson (12.8 PPG), as well as skilled big man Henry Sims (11.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG).
Can the Gators hold off the talented Hoyas? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Last season, the StatFox group had a combined 65% ATS (206-110-4) success rate in college basketball Best Bets. StatFox Scott led the way at an amazing 71% ATS (56-23-1) followed closely behind by StatFox Gary (68% ATS), StatFox Brian (62% ATS) and StatFox Dave (60% ATS).
Florida C Patric Young (10.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG last season) is going to be the best big man on the floor on Friday night. And they have a couple of unique players to deploy alongside him in the frontcourt. PF Erik Murphy (10.5 PPG, 42.1% 3-pt FG) is 6-foot-10, but one of the best shooters in the nation, knocking down 42.1% of his threes. F Will Yeguete (6.3 RPG) is an athletic combo forward who actually plays at the top of their full-court press. But the Gators will rely heavily on their leading scorer from a year ago, PG Kenny Boynton (15.9 PPG, 40.7% 3-pt FG). The Gators led the nation in three-pointers made per game last season (9.6) and it was largely because of the 3.0 per game that Boynton hit. The senior shot it slightly better at home (42.7%) than on road/neutral courts a year ago though (39.4%). Whether or not he can find the range in a unique setting will go a long way towards deciding this game.
The Hoyas have a budding star in sophomore forward Otto Porter (9.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG). While Porter should produce, the big question is how the Hoyas’ young backcourt will handle Florida’s pressure defense. Junior point guard Markel Starks was benched late last season, and averaged nearly as many turnovers (1.4) as assists (1.6). High scoring freshman combo guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera could provide an offensive boost, and he should have little trouble adjusting to the spotlight after leading premiere prep program Oak Hill Academy to a mythical national title a year ago.