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Gator Basketball vs. Rutgers Mini-Preview

Note: Since college basketball has more games, I won't be going into too much detail for each game like I have with football. Instead I'll have mini-previews.

After finishing last year with a 10-19 mark, Rutgers was picked to finish at the bottom of the Big East this season. Already, the team has improved. The Scarlet Knights shot only 38.9% last year, and despite losing two of their top three scorers, are now hitting at a 42.9% clip. At 3-0 with wins over the same teams as UF, (this being the last game of the Blue Ribbon Challenge) Rutgers is a team UF should beat, but may have trouble with.

In terms of size, Rutgers is just as short as UF. But, like nearly every team UF plays this season, is an older squad. You would think that this means they also take care of the ball, but they have 47 turnovers compared to only 35 assists. (UF has 62 assists against 40 turnovers.) More than likely, this game will hinge on defense as both squads are allowing around 60 points a game.

For the Gators, I'd like to see Dan Werner play better offensively. He has about six boards a game, and is a good passer, but 5-14 from the field in 70 total minutes is terrible. Donovan will keep him in, but at some point in the season, points will become more important than having older players in the lineup. Luckily for UF, Allen, Parsons, and Tyus have played very well. And at least Werner is contributing. When Jonathan Mitchell is out there, it's like playing with four men. His problem is that he wears 0. Not double-0, just 0. If he picks something with an actual value, he'll play better.

The thing that impresses me most is how Walt Hodge is handling all this. So far, the old man on the squad has taken control when necessary, and let the kids like Calathes play. His running mate, Jai Lucas, is coming along too. Tonight begins a stretch of three legit challenges in the next five games; Rutgers, FSU on Friday, and Vermont on Nov. 30 in Tampa.