Originally Posted by TennesseeFan
Florida has supposed to be good the last two seasons, what is it this year that you think will be any different?
Florida wasn't expected to be good last season. that's why they were unranked in the preseason. With good reason too as every member of the starting 5 was either a freshman, first year player, first year starter or adjusting to a new position.
Florida was ranked #19 in the preseason the year before because the votes were tallied before starting guard Jai Lucas transferred immediately following the season opener, it was known Adam Allen suffered a career-ending injury and it was known Eloy Vargas (the guy who Kentucky fans are lauding in their frontcourt) would miss most of the year on top of the other issues voters took on faith Donovan would be enough to compensate for. To make matters worse Allan Chaney missed most of SEC play with injury. You've got real problems when Alex Tyus is your starting center.
So why is this year different? Florida was a team last year that nearly all of its losses came in the final seconds as depth gave out. Offensive black holes Werner and Shipman (now gone) couldn't hit an open shot and long with no one to spell our guards who were themselves learning new positions and keep their legs fresh we had the worst perimeter shooting season ever under Donovan. Interior depth was an issue as Kadji went down for the season early in the non-conference needing herniated disc surgery and Murphy was playing winded and 20 lbs lighter than what he reported at.
Guard depth is twice what it was last season. Interior depth is twice what it was last season. Perimeter shooting will improve with the additional shooters, guard depth to keep legs fresh, comfort level in their positions and more interior options to keep defenses honest. Defense will improve with increased depth allowing us to press for the first time since 06-07, we've added Patric Young who was the #1 rated defender and rebounder at his position by Rivals, we've added Casey Prather who was the #4 rated defender at his position by Rivals among other guys. So yeah it's not hard to see why returning 5 double-digit scoring starters, of whom 3 are seniors, has got them at preseason #11 in the preseason and were picked by the SEC media to win the conference.
That being said I'm not ready to call them Final Four contenders either as they've got to show that on the court but the early returns from practice are very good. And as I said before there are 5 teams which have legit chances at winning the conference and when 4 of them play in the same division anything can happen. But it's a lot easier to make an argument for Florida than say a team like Tennessee which lost 3 multi-year starters and has to rely upon Swiper-boy and the walk-ons.