Tournament talking points


Some impressions from Day 1 of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Classic

— Though Alex Tyus scored a career-best 24 points against
Syracuse, Florida coach Billy Donovan tempered his enthusiasm about the
sophomore center’s performance following the game. “I’m anxious to look
at the film,” Donovan said. “Some people may see 24 points but I look
at the fact that (Arinze) Onuaku gets 12 rebounds, Paul Harris gets 11
rebounds. Sometimes, scoring is a matter of being in the right place at
the right time. That’s not to say he didn’t do some good things, but
I’d like to see the film first.”

Tyus had just four rebounds, but to his defense, he gave up close to 50 pounds against Onuaku. His lack of bulk is going to be a difficult problem to the Gators to mask all season.

— It’s clear that sophomore forward Chandler Parsons is pressing
from the perimeter. Parsons missed both of his 3-point attempts badly
to fall to 0-for-9 from beyond the arc for the season. Credit Parsons
for finding other ways to contribute, he had a team-high nine rebounds
Syracuse and showed nice hustle on a blocked shot. But if Florida
doesn’t get more offense from Parsons, a trip back to the NIT is likely.
— Sophomore Nick Calathes took accountability for Syracuse guard Andy Rautins scoring 15 first-half points. “We gave them too many threes,” Calathes said. “Rautins got too many looks and that was my man, so put that one on me.”
— Walter Hodge expended so much energy defending Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn that it impacted his offense. Hodge was held scoreless, missing his only two shot attempts.

— Florida faces an important second game tonight against
Washington. To go back home 0-2 would be somewhat demoralizing for a
team that’s still young. But the Huskies looked awful in their 73-54
loss against Kansas. Washington shot just 29.2 percent from the floor
and had 10 shots blocked. Look for Florida to press more tonight and
try to rattle some of Washington’s young guards.
— For my money, Kansas fans are still the best in college
basketball. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and come across as
less entitled and obnoxious as Kentucky fans. Still, I’m pulling for
Syracuse tonight because a good friend who is an Orange grad would have
a long, unhappy flight home if Kansas wins.