Preseason magazines again high on Gators

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A pair of major preseason magazines thinks Florida has what it takes to make another deep NCAA Tournament run.

Lindy’s picked Florida to finish second in the Southeastern Conference, behind Kentucky. Athlon, meanwhile, has Florida third in the SEC, behind Kentucky and Missouri.

Lindy’s ranks Florida No. 17 in its preseason Top 25.  Athlon has Florida at No. 20.

Of Florida, Lindy’s writes — “With all the talent and experience returning, and plenty of options to patch the holes in the frontcourt, look for Florida to — at minimum — win 20-plus games for the 15th consecutive season, and potentially play on the second weekend of March Madness.”

Athlon writes of Florida — “Florida has the pieces in place to contend with Kentucky for the top spot in the SEC. The Gators, however, must stay healthy and will need more productivity from two key juniors — (Patric) Young up front and (Scottie) Wilbekin at the point.”

The Gators return three starters, including leading scorer Kenny Boynton (15.9 ppg), from a team that finished 26-11 and reached the Elite Eight for the second straight season. But Florida also lost point guard Erving Walker, a three-year starter who finished his career as UF’s all-time assist leader, and freshman Bradley Beal, who left for the NBA draft after just one season. Beal went third overall in the first round to the Washington Wizards, tied with Al Horford (3rd overall, Atlanta Hawks, 2007) for the second-highest drafted Gator in school history.

Here’s what the preseason magazines had to say about some of UF’s key non-conference opponents:

Lindy’s on Georgetown — “The Hoyas don’t have proven performers, but they have versatile talent. Georgetown might not be a fire-breathing force this year, but expect the Hoyas back in the (NCAA) tourney and look out in 2013-14.”

Lindy’s on Marquette — “The Golden Eagle guards are talented, and there are a lot of them. That gives (Marquette coach Buzz) Williams plenty of options for once should he want to go with a deep rotation. And even though the frontcourt isn’t as potent, there are good defenders among the group. If they rebound better, Marquette won’t have too many problems.”

Athlon on Wisconsin — “With (center Jared) Berggen more confident and with the addition of players such as (guard George) Marshall and (forward Sam) Dekker, Wisconsin should be a more versatile offensive team this season. UW will always defend hard and take care of the ball.”

Athlon on Arizona — “The basketball environment in Tucson is such that expectations have returned to (Lute) Olson-era levels. The acquisition of (Xavier transfer guard Mark) Lyons turned Arizona from a possible Top-25 team to one that believes it can win a national championship.”

Athlon on Kansas State — “The last time (Kansas State coach Bruce) Weber inherited a talented roster in his first year at a new job, he led Illinois to a Big Ten regular-season championship and Sweet 16 appearance. He shouldn’t have much trouble winning at K-State either. His team is talented and experienced. His coaching style should go over well with the players, and the program should remain on its current trajectory.”

Florida begins practice on Oct. 13 and will hold its lone exhibition game on Nov. 1 against Nebraska-Kearney. The Gators will face Georgetown in their season opener on Nov. 9  in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic. The game will be played on the deck of the USS Bataan at Naval Station Mayport.

Other notes:

— Florida coach Billy Donovan attended the Brayden Carr Foundation Coaching Clinic last weekend at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. Of course, the subject of Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario came up. Donovan said he’s expecting big things from Rosario in his senior season, but that accountability will be the key for the 6-foot-3 guard who led UF in bench scoring (6.6 ppg) last season. “He can be a big part of our team, but there are certain things that he’s got to take care of on his end,” Donovan told Gannett New Jersey’s Jerry Carino. “If he can do that, then I think he can have a great senior year.”

— Boynton told ESPN.com’s Jason King that he thinks this could be the deepest Florida team he’s played on. “We’re 16 deep,” Boynton told King. “One through 16, we can all play, we all work hard. Whenever I come into the gym late at night to shoot or whatever, there’s always someone else in there. We have a huge upside if we can jell and put everything together.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. I know Kentucky is the defending champ, but they lost what, their top 7 players? 8 of their top 9? Something like that.
    .
    If they can simply reload the entire team with Freshman and win the SEC and go far in the tourney, then college basketball is a joke.

    • Top 6 but they have so much talent coming in. Ryan Harrow is a transfer at pg so he practiced last year w Ky. Kyle Wiltjer is an Erik-Murphy type. Nerlens Noel may be a better shot-blocker than Anthony Davis (though not as polished offensively). Poythress and Goodwin are top 20 recruits. Don’t think they are as talented as last year, but still think they are pretty strong. Will be a more balanced race. Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas all have a shot.

  2. Excited about the season just around the corner! We have a heckuva non-conference slate and I think that will really help us when we get into conference play. I think this team has all the ingredients for a conference title and a deep run in the tournament.
    Go Gators!

  3. If UK wins the SEC this season and makes a deep tourny run…Donovan might want to do what Meyer did and leave a league where cheating is rewarded instead of punished. Marcus Camby openly admitted on national radio that he recruited Anthony Davis for Calipari inlcuding having him to his home when he was in town for a camp…The SEC and NCAA just looked the other way…Didn’t they suspnd Dez Bryant for less than that?

  4. While UK will be good, I don’t see any superstars on the roster. Also, no real carry over experience like last year. I’d watch out for UT, Arkansas and Mizzou. Gators will need help from the freshman and some luck on injuries with only three bigs. I thin it will be much more competitive this year.

  5. Kentucky won the championship with a mix of freshmen, sophomores and upperclassmen. They lost 90% of their scoring, assists, rebounds, floor minutes. etc.
    .
    Sure, they are bringing in some talent, but they have nothing there waiting for it to mesh with. Say what you like Whitjer is a scrub. Eric Murphy needed time and experience to develop. MAYBE, if he has a great work ethic, Whitjer can do the same IN TIME.
    .
    I look at Kentucky, I see no floor leadership. I see no veterans to rally the troops when the momentum has gone the other way, and they are in a hostile stadium with a ton of screaming fans trying to rattle them. I see no cohesion, which can only come with time.
    .
    I believe that players improve over time. I believe that teams get better when they have continuity built over years. I do NOT believe that a bunch of 17-18 year old kids can walk on to a basketball court, shake hands, and a couple months later be one of the best teams in basketball.
    .
    If this is TRUE, and a bunch of kids can walk on the court and just be great, then, as I said earlier, college basketball is a JOKE.

  6. Lizardgrad 89, Until the NCAA decides to make even a modest attempt to curb the agent payment program going on at UK, then yes college basketball is a joke.

    Calipari has been doing this for years at multiple schools but he is not the coaching genious the slurpers want you to believe he is so he has not been able to win trophies. Last year’s UK team was so strong even Calipari couldn’t screw it up.

    Kinda like college football, until the rules are enforced, certain teams will be nearly unstoppable.

    I am okay with Billy doing it the right way even if he finishes second to the professional team in Lexington every year.

  7. Doubt anyone blocks more shots than Anthony Davis for Uk Freshman to Senior included.This could be a special team for Billy and one of the most fun to watch for the fans.Larson is the player we need to step up.Hopefully he can copy Chandler and progress.Erv made a lot of big shots but he also had a lot of turnovers in the lane.We have four guys that can play point.Maybe we can put rearends in O dome and give Billy the support he’s more than earned.You dont get much better in CBB we are very fortunate to have an outstanding Coach who could go anywhere but chooses Uf.Picking final four this is the deepest I’ve ever seen the squad.

  8. The 2012 Gators will be good, but I think that next year they’ll be deeper and even more talented. They have 2 transfers coming in and at least 2 top 10 players. I say this squad makes it to the sweet 16 and gets a 3 seed in the tourny. Next year I see them at least making the final four and a number 1 seed.