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Xavier vs. Florida: PKI preview, matchups, key to the game * Florida

It’s Thanksgiving. Spoilers I guess in case you didn’t already know. There’s football of all kinds all day, plenty of food and, as a pleasant addition to Thanksgiving, Xavier basketball. If your house is similar to ours, the noise can make it difficult to hear announcers, but who wants to hear Dickey Simpkins?

Florida didn’t get off to a good start this season either. They are also 3-1 this season after beating Stony Brook, Kennesaw St and a poor Florida St. The loss came against Florida Atlantic, both of which are surprisingly good this season (75th in KenPom), and shouldn’t lose to a team like Florida.

team fingerprint

Florida’s offense has been decent so far this season. Her strength was ball safety. The Gators are 41st in the nation so far with a very good turnover rate of 15.5%. They turn all that possession into some pretty bad shooting numbers. As a team, the Gators are 35% behind the line, where they don’t shoot much at all, and only 48.3% inside the line. From the line they are excellent.

Florida is a mixed bag defensively. Offensive rebounds against them are essentially non-event. They allow less than 20% of misses made against them to be recovered by the shooting team. They also block a lot of shots and are excellent at central defence. The Gators don’t force many turnovers, instead focusing on shutting down shots and limiting three-point attempts.


start matchups
Kyle Lofton Point Guard souley boom
Senior class Senior
6’3″, 188 measurements 6’3″, 175
9.8/3.8/3.8 line of play 14/3.8/3.8
46.9/50/83.3 shooting line 55.2/61.5/84.2
After being one of the top spots in the A10 for four years at St Bonaventure, Lofton has transitioned smoothly into an SEC squad. He’s incredibly stingy with ball security, a good distributor and a solid defender. He’s not a frequent shooter, but he’s hit half of his threes so far this season. His line is also very reliable.
Will Richard Shooting Guard Kyky Tandy
sophomore class Senior
6’4″, 206 measurements 6’2″, 190
14/4.5/0 line of play 6.3/2/2
54.5/46.2/100 shooting line 42.9/41.7/66.7
Richard is another transfer, this time from Belmont. He is a sniper who is also exceptional from the line. He made his mark as a power forward at Belmont and is still chasing the offensive glass in Florida. Its usage rate is quite low, but its efficiency has resulted in consistently solid scoring results.
Kowacie Reeves Little Striker Colby Jones
sophomore class Junior
6’6″, 192 measurements 6’6″, 205
8.5/2.3/1 line of play 13.3/5/6.7
40.7/47.1/57.1 shooting line 40/0/83.3
When Xavier played Florida at the NIT I thought Reeves was a good rookie and I was glad he wouldn’t be Xavier’s problem going forward. joke is on me! He doesn’t get many minutes, but he has a 115 ORtg and a payout of three. He never turns the ball over but has a small foul problem.
CJ Fields power forward Zach Freemantle
Senior class Senior
6’7″, 240 measurements 6’9″, 225
3.3/5.3/0 line of play 15.5/7.3/5
38.5/0/100 shooting line 60.5/0/62.5
Felder is a big boy who transferred from Boston College and got a bit overwhelmed in Florida. He’s recovering well from the rate but not getting enough minutes to keep it up. His shooting numbers were poor early on and he had some rotten problems. He shot well from deep last year, but he’s a career shooter at 29.7% from deep.
Colin Castleton center Jack Nunge
Senior class Junior
6’11”, 250 measurements 7’0″ 245
25.3/8.8/2.3 line of play 17/6.8/1.5
55.1/25/70.6 shooting line 54.8/55.6/68
Family reunion where Jack Nunge gets to play with his son again! Jack held Castleton 4-8 in the NIT last year on 10/6/00. Castleton has been in tears ever since, destroying in every way the four teams Florida played against. He smashed the glass, blocked a lot of shots, hit almost at will and pulled more than 7 fouls per 40. he rolls


Florida has about average depth when it comes to bank minutes. Alex Fudge will be off the bank first. He’s a 6-9 sophomore who blocks shots well and is solid on the offensive glass. Myreon Jones plays as a backup guard. I’m sure he’s doing something well, but it doesn’t show up in the stats. Trey Bonham will come from the bank to get his. However, his offensive rating is 80.4. Florida will rely on its starters and use its bench as sparingly as possible.

Three questions

– Can Xavier control the glass? Xavier has been pretty permeable on the defensive glass this season and it probably cost her the game against Indiana. Florida has a couple of decent offensive rebounders, but none of them get big minutes enough to be dominant in that regard. If the Muskies fight on the glass today, it could be a season-long fight.

-Who controls the color? The Muskies are 308th in the nation in percentage points scored from across the arc; They rely on two-point shots and free throws to earn points. Unfortunately, Florida’s defense is strong at both defending inside the arc and avoiding sending opponents onto the line. Xavier will be the best team Florida has faced so far this year; It’s now up to Nunge and Freemantle to carry the fight against the Gators in color.

-Can someone shoot their way back in? Neither team shoots productively from deep; Florida is 333rd on three-pointers and Xavier is 351st. Additionally, both teams are defensively stingy, with Florida 82nd and Xavier 30th on defensive three-pointers. When someone stretches it to a double digit lead, it takes a lot of consecutive stops to get back up to par.

Three keys

-Push Castleton out. Florida doesn’t have much volume scoring outside of its center. Their supporting players are efficient, but most of their high-volume guys haven’t been. He’s lost 25 a game because Florida does nothing but feed him in good spots on offense. X has to let him work before catching, otherwise he eats all day.

-Let Florida go to their bank. The Gators are 156th in bench minutes and 5th in two-foul involvement. Except for Alex Fudge – who gets there with an ORtg of 83.2 – they don’t have anyone scoring at all outside of the starting five. It’s a good team, but it’s very top-heavy. They don’t go to the bank very often because it’s pretty much useless.

-Keep the ball hot. Florida does a good job of chasing teams from the bow and is stingy on two-point defense. Stagnant attacks and first page attacks are recipes for offensive disaster today. The Muskies need to get Florida rotating or they’re going to have a really hard time breaking the Gators in the end.