Florida’s perimeter shooting has been more down than up throughout the regular season.
The Gators had some time to adjust to Bridgestone Arena during Wednesday afternoon’s shoot-around before its opening-round SEC Tournament matchup Thursday night against Auburn.
Florida has played in three similar arena settings with mixed results. The Gators went 12-for-20 from 3-point range against Jacksonville at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena and 12-for-30 from 3-point range against Syracuse at the St. Pete Times Forum. But against Richmond at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida went just 3-for-15 from beyond the arc against Richmond.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said he didn’t see the shooting background at Bridgestone Arena being as big as an adjustment as playing in previous SEC Tournaments at the Georgia Dome.
“It appears just visually coming in here it’s a good place to shoot,” Donovan said. “I think the depth perception comes from the top of the key when you have a lot of space behind the basket, and I always felt like in domes it almost looked like the basket was suspended in space when you were out on top, just because there was nothing behind the backboard to give you any depth perception.”
Florida comes into tonight’s matchup ranked 11th in the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage at 30.7 percent.
“It’s not as big as Rupp Arena, where we just played,” Florida guard Kenny Boynton said. “I think it’s an OK place to shoot the basketball.”
But if the first two SEC Tournament games are an indication, expect more bricks to be thrown up tonight. South Carolina, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee combined to shoot 13-for-57 from 3-point range in the first two games.