Posted by Greg Mitchell on November 9th, 2013
There are expectations, realistic or not, that come with a #10 ranking, and that includes piling on small conference schools early in the season. Florida didn’t live up to this expectation against North Florida, as the Ospreys hung around for most of the game at the O’Connell Center Friday afternoon. Should the Gators be concerned heading into their game at #20 Wisconsin on Tuesday? Absolutely, but nothing happened Friday that should cause concern in the long run.
Patric Young had a difficult opener, but it’s not likely his struggles continue.
First, Billy Donovan warned that a game like this might happen. “When you looked on paper at the guys that were supposed to be on our team, we looked like a very optimistic, promising team,” Donovan said. “Right now, we’re not a very good team. […] We’re not the same team. If everybody looked at it on paper before the season started, each guy is healthy, each guy is here, what our team would look like. Our team is not that team on paper.” The absence of backup forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris was felt early. Patric Young picked up two fouls within the first eight minutes of the game, and Will Yeguete looked rusty as he recovers from offseason surgery. This led to Donovan giving 26 minutes to walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz. Kurtz primarily played at the top of the defense, and while he did a good job, that’s an important role in Donovan’s defense and there was a talent drop-off. Donovan also went with lineups with Casey Prather as the biggest player. Both of these configurations took the Gators away from their core strength: balanced lineups with athletic big men.
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