Two major preseason college basketball magazines expect Florida to pick up where it left off last season.
The Sporting News picks the Gators to finish second behind Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference and ranks Florida seventh in the nation in its preseason top 25. Lindy’s ranks Florida third in the SEC behind Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and 10th in its preseason top 25.
Florida lost its starting frontcourt from a team that won the SEC and reached the Elite Eight last season. But the Gators add two standout guards — Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario and incoming freshman Brad Beal — along with freshman forward Walter Pitchford.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said in the Sporting News article that he is hopeful that Patric Young and recently re-instated forward Erik Murphy will pick up the slack to replace the losses of Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin.
In the Sporting News’ Florida preseason preview, Jimmy Hyams wrote: “Is Florida’s deep and talented backcourt good enough to carry the team? Not entirely. But if Young and one other big man emerges, Florida should make the big dance for the 12th time in Donovan’s 16 seasons in Gainesville.”
In the Lindy’s Florida preview, Gregg Doyel wrote: “After three ho-hum seasons following their back-to-back national championships of 2006 and 2007, the Gators returned to national excellence last season. Expect them to stay there now, albeit in a completely different way: A balanced team that lacked backcourt depth will become guard-heavy, both in production and minutes played.”
As an aside, senior guard Erving Walker is featured on both the local Sporting News and Lindy’s covers.