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Friday, November 7, 2014

Geno’s Preseason Top Ten- No. 6 Florida Gators

                                Photo Credit: Stacey Revere/ Getty Images North America

No. 6 Florida Gators
2013-14 Record: 36-3 overall (18-0 Southeastern Conference)
Result: Eliminated in the national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament to No. 7-seeded Connecticut 63-53.
Key Games:
Dec. 5 at Kansas
Jan. 3 vs. UConn
Feb. 1 vs. Kentucky
March 7 at Kentucky

Key Losses:
Casey Prather (13.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG), Scottie Wilbekin (13.1 PPG and 3.6 APG) and Patric Young (11.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG).

After going undefeated in SEC play last season, the Florida Gators headed into the NCAA Tournament as one of four number one seeds.
The Gators rolled through the first four rounds until it met its demise against eventual national champion Connecticut in the national semifinal.
Three of the top four scorers from last season’s team graduated (Wilbekin, Prather and Young) and it will be no easy task to replace 37.9 points on offense.
In order for Florida to maintain its place among the college basketball elite, it will rely primarily on junior guard Michael Frazier II as its top returning offensive weapon.
Frazier II scored 12.4 points per game and is the lone returning starter from last season’s squad. Florida coach Billy Donovan expects Frazier to be more of a presence in the rebounding department as he averaged 3.5 a year ago.
“I think this year [Michael] has got to work more off the ball, and when he does have a chance to shoot the ball, he needs to be aggressive,” Donovan said on onlygators.com.
Kasey Hill is expected to take the reigns as the starting point guard as he will fill the shoes of Wilbekin.
The sophomore dealt with numerous injuries in the 2013-14 season, but managed to average 3.1 assists. Hill is more of a facilitator as opposed to a shoot-first player and his role might be the deciding factor on how far Florida goes in postseason play.
Reigning SEC Sixth Man Of The Year Dorian Finney-Smith will also see his playing time increase.
Finney-Smith averaged 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds and scored 14 points or more 10 times last season. The redshirt junior’s length at 6-8 will be counted on to help fill out Florida’s front line.
The potential wildcard for the Gators could be transfer Jon Horford.
The redshirt senior who played at Michigan the last three seasons can stretch the floor and shoot from the perimeter at 6-10 and 245 lbs.
He is also the younger brother of current Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford.
Donovan’s freshman class includes forward Devin Robinson and guard Chris Chiozza.
A five-star prospect according to Rivals.com, Robinson’s length at 6-8 and 178 lbs. should get him some significant playing time this season, but could endure some growing pains making the adjustment from high school to college.
Chiozza’s game is similar to Hill’s as he is a pass-first point guard and is expected to be the back-up going into the season opener against William & Mary on Nov. 14.

Projected Starting Lineup:
G Kasey Hill 6-1 182
G Michael Frazier II 6-4 194
F Devin Robinson 6-8 178
F Dorian Finney-Smith 6-8 218
F Chris Walker 6-10 220

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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.


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