Tuesday, March 13, 2012

chomping at the bit

It must be a law that all Peruvian cities have a square named Plaza de Armas; every town we visited had one.  Here is Lima's, the location of the founding of the city.

So, Florida.  It so happens that this weekend's opponent on the diamond is Florida State, so don't be surprised if Gators fans and Noles fans are both telling you "hey, good luck on Friday in that other sport."

This is our bowl game, essentially.  We don't get three weeks to prepare like for the one in football, so today is your prep day as we learn about each of the Florida Gators, one by one.  They're listed, more or less, in order from most to least dangerous:

#1 - Kenny Boynton - Shooting guard

Size: 6'2, 189
Year: Junior

Statistics: 16.3 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.4 rpg
Shooting %: .448
3-point %: .427
FT %: .750

O-rating: 124.0

Best game: Rider, 12/9: 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, 0 fouls, 9-13 shooting, 5-9 threes
Best game (SEC only): South Carolina, 2/2: 24 points, 3 rebounds, 6-13 shooting, 4-8 threes
Worst game: Kentucky, 3/10: 2 points, 4 assists, 1-9 shooting, 0-4 threes

Boynton is a legitimate star.  He's always been a bomber from three - never has shot fewer than 242 of them in a season - but this year, he's hitting.  A lot.  He's become a much more efficient player this year as a junior, scoring more points in fewer shots than in years past, and he also takes very good care of the ball, at barely over one turnover per game and an 11.3% rate, good for 62nd in the country.  On defense, he simply doesn't foul; at 1.3 fouls per 40 minutes, he's the 12th best in the country at that.  On the other hand, he also doesn't get a lot of steals; his stats have the profile of a guy who prefers not to take many risks and simply to sit back and deny the driver.  That should be OK by our offense, as Sammy Zeglinski, his likely assignment, isn't exactly a slasher.  Boynton's size won't give Sammy much trouble either.

That said, on the other end, you have to game plan to stop Boynton.  His teammates are good scorers too, so you must strike a balance between what you commit to Boynton and what you commit to everyone else, but come clutch time, this is the guy they're looking for.  A true, efficient threat.

#23 - Bradley Beal - Shooting guard

Size: 6'3", 207
Year: Freshman

Statistics: 14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Shooting %: .428
3-point %: .329
Free throw %: .775

O-rating: 110.4

Best game: Stetson, 11/28: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 7-13 shooting, 5-9 threes
Best game (SEC only): Arkansas, 2/18: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 6-8 shooting
Worst game: Kentucky, 3/4: 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1-10 shooting

Beal is a potential one-and-done player; ESPN's Chad Ford lists him as the sixth-best NBA prospect in the upcoming draft.  He's got some length that belies his height, and of course has a ton of athleticism.  Beal shoots only a little less often than Boynton does, but he doesn't hit his threes with anywhere near as much regularity.  His specialty is getting to the rim; Beal shoots better than 50% from inside the arc.

On defense, he will indeed block a couple shots.  He generally plays the three for Billy Donovan, and is a little undersized for it, but makes up for it with that athleticism.  And in that role, he does a lot of rebounding; in fact, he led the team in that department.  He'll probably be assigned Joe Harris on defense, and could surprise Harris with his athleticism.

#4 - Patric Young - Center

Size: 6'9", 247
Year: Sophomore
Statistics: 10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg
Shooting %: .608
3-point %: N/A
Free throw %: .605
O-rating: 115.8
Best game: Arizona, 12/7: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 12-15 shooting
Best game (SEC only): Kentucky, 3/4: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 10-15 shooting
Worst game: Vanderbilt, 2/4: 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls

Young is an extremely efficient shooter, with that .600+ shooting percentage, and a large body that may give UVA's skinny frontcourt a tough time.  His minutes, however, have been limited somewhat by a nagging ankle issue that held him out of the starting lineup at times (though he never missed a game) and by some foul trouble; Young fouled out of three games and got into foul trouble in eight more.

I think he'll need help on defense against Mike Scott.  Either that or he'll be the help; either way, Scott is the better player on that end.  We'll see about when Florida is on offense; Young's a good shooter, and has a chance to be the kind of guy that could get our bigs in foul trouble.  It'd be best if we could turn that around, because Young is sometimes prone to it.

#11 - Erving Walker - Point guard

Size: 5'8", 177
Year: Senior
Statistics: 12.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.7 apg
Shooting %: .399
3-point %: .371
Free throw %: .813
O-rating: 115.7
Best game: Arkansas, 2/18: 31 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 9-12 shooting, 5-6 threes
Best game (SEC only): same
Worst game: Kentucky, 2/7: 0 points, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 0-7 shooting

Walker is the Gators' point guard, but the team is balanced enough on offense that it doesn't necessarily always run through him.  He's a fairly efficient distributor, but a volume scorer with a shooting percentage a shade under .400.  He's also teeny-tiny.

The best comparison to someone we've seen this season is Clemson's Andre Young, and unfortunately, it's an inconclusive one.  Young had a terrible game in our first meeting and a pretty good one the second time out.  Also unfortunately, I don't think the Jontel Evans matchup with Walker is necessarily the crucial one, since Walker isn't necessarily the king of the offense all the time.  If Evans is shutting him down, Florida has other weapons.  That said, Evans is quick enough and big enough to be able to cause problems for Walker on our offensive end.  Walker doesn't foul a lot, but like Kenny Boynton he's not an aggressive defender.

#33 - Erik Murphy - Power forward

Size: 6'10", 230
Year: Junior
Statistics: 10.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.9 apg
Shooting %: .498
3-point %: .442
Free throw %: .795
O-rating: 119.8
Best game: Kentucky, 3/10: 24 points, 9-12 shooting, 4-4 threes
Best game (SEC only): same
Worst game: Georgia, 2/25: 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1-6 shooting

Like Young, Murphy dealt with a few injury deals this year, missing three games with a bone bruise in his knee and a slightly torn meniscus.  It hasn't slowed him down lately, though.  Murphy is a scoring four who probably is underutilized.  He's got a great shooting touch for a 6'10" big guy, is a legitimate threat from three-point land, and can shoot free throws, too.  Murphy presents the kind of matchup troubles that coaches dream of.

However, his defense is average at best for his size.  Not a fearsome shot-blocker, and he leaves a lot of the rebounding to others as well.  It'll be interesting to see how the UVA coaches defend Murphy, probably with Akil Mitchell, but when we're on offense, he's not likely to be much more than a big body.

The Andes are so steep that the terrace farms of the Incas cannot support the same type of crops at the top of the hills as they do at the bottom.  The different microclimates don't allow it.

#15 - Will Yeguete - Forward

Size: 6'7", 222
Year: Sophomore
Statistics: 4.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
Shooting %: .581
3-point %: N/A
Free throw %: .359
O-rating: 116.6
Best game: South Carolina, 1/14: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6-6 shooting, 0 turnovers
Best game (SEC only): same
Worst game: Tennessee, 1/7: 0 points, 5 rebounds, 4 fouls

I put this entry here only to let you know what Florida's missing; namely, their best defender.  Yeguete went down with a foot injury last month against Auburn and is out for the season.  Essentially, he was the Gators' sixth man, and an excellent rebounder.  His services will not be available on Friday; my heart bleeds for Gators fans.

#3 - Mike Rosario - Guard

Size: 6'3", 191
Year: RS Junior
Statistics: 6.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.0 apg
Shooting %: .417
3-point %: .348
Free throw %: .759
O-rating: 105.5
Best game: Jackson State, 11/11: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 5-8 threes
Best game (SEC only): Vanderbilt, 2/4: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Worst game: Kentucky, 2/7: 3 points, 3 turnovers, 1-4 shooting

Rosario's effectiveness this season has been whittled down by a series of various injuries, the latest a hip pointer that cost him three games in February.  Since then, he's been nothing more than a body off the bench; the only time he was called on for significant minutes, he delivered a 1-6 shooting night.  Before the injuries he was a decent scoring option off the bench, but it hasn't been there of late.

#5 - Scottie Wilbekin - Guard

Size: 6'2", 178
Year: Sophomore
Statistics: 2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.7 apg
Shooting %: .418
3-point %: .450
Free throw %: .714
O-rating: 120.8
Best game: Alabama, 3/9: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-2 threes, 0 fouls
Best game (SEC only): same
Worst game: South Carolina, 2/2: 0 points, 3 fouls

Wilbekin's role has increased somewhat as Rosario's has decreased; essentially, he's there to not suck off the bench and provide a little rest for the starters.  He does have a pretty good three-point shot.

#24 - Casey Prather - Forward

Size: 6'6", 212
Year: Sophomore
Statistics: 1.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.3 apg
Shooting %: .289
3-point %: .500
Free throw %: .417
O-rating: 71.4
Best game: Jacksonville, 11/25: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2/3 shooting
Best game (SEC only): Auburn, 2/21: 2 points, 2 rebounds
Worst game: Tennessee, 2/11: 1 point, 5 fouls, 2 turnovers

Truth is, Prather's probably done more harm than good this year.  Dude fouls a lot - he's managed to foul out of a game (the abovementioned Tennessee one) in just 11 minutes.  7.1 fouls per 40 minutes is his astounding average.  He won't see much time; his on-court role increased a little in the wake of Yeguete's injury, but unless he hacks someone (likely) you might not even notice him.

#34 - Cody Larson - Forward

Size: 6'9", 231
Year: Freshman
Statistics: 0.5 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.0 apg
Shooting %: .455
3-point %: .000
Free throw %: .400
O-rating: N/A
Best game: Jackson State, 11/11: 4 points, 3 rebounds
Best game (SEC only): Georgia, 1/10: 1 rebound
Worst game: Arkansas, 2/18: 4 fouls

May or may not play.  Won't matter either way.

So there's your primer on the Florida roster.  Full game preview will come Thursday, and as a reminder I'm not posting on Friday because that's go time for all three teams that I'm interested in.

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