One of my good friends is getting married next spring. He and his fiancé had been discussing a possible date when she suggested the beginning of April.
"Well, you can't do it the first weekend of April," I said. "That's the Final Four. What if UF gets in?"
Eventually they decided on a May date. But unless the Gators fix these following areas, it may not matter that the date was moved because UF will end their season again in the NIT.
As always, these are just the opinions of a 23 year old with a blog. Drop your comments or insults below or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bigger commitment on defense: 83 points at Alabama, 89 at Ole Miss, 80 at Arkansas, 104 at Tennessee, 82 versus South Carolina, 89 versus Tennessee, 80 against Alabama. In 17 SEC games, Florida had seven games where they allowed 80+ points. But it wasn't just being weak on defense. They couldn't get stops when necessary, not to mention getting blown off the ball by FSU, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and UMass. The Gators were never in either of those games. In the case of the first Tennessee game and the UMass game, UF actually played good defense in the first half but could not remain at that level. (At UT, they allowed 44% shooting and 44 points in first half. In the second, that was 54% and 60 points. Against UMass, the first half numbers were 32% and 27 points. In the second, they jump to 53% and 51.) Florida was fantastic in limiting San Diego State, Creighton, and Arizona State to 49, 54, and 57 points, but that was too little, too late. Going into next season, they seemed to have learned how to be more active on defense and you have to hope a summer in the weight room, especially for Calathes and Parsons, will help.
- Bring back the 2006-07 uniforms: Why would I have a blue Joakim Noah jersey and a plain blue No. 1 jersey? I do like blue and Jo Noah is my favorite Gator, but two National Championships were won in those jerseys. So why the hell did they change them? Florida is one of several teams (among them Miami, Ohio State and Syracuse) that wear Nike's System of Dress. The tight fitting top and baggy shorts were new this season but they were actually introduced last season. After wearing the new threads in a horrific performance at Tennessee, the Gators stuck with the regular jerseys and won it all. You would have thought the basketball department would get the hint and stay away from the Frocks for Jocks but that was not the case. Bring back the old unis and watch the wins pile up.
- Get Speights more touches: This really has more to do with when Speights gets his touches. If you compare Calathes and Speights, Calathes had more attempts (411 to 346), but played a lot more minutes (1174 to 874). The thing is when Calathes is shooting jumpers late with heavy legs, Speights is being guarded by a guy inside who does not want to see another lefty hook. Next season, when the reinforcements include two five-star 6-10 guys (Kenny Kadji and Eloy Vargas) the Gator guards will have to do a much better job of getting the ball inside. Which brings us to our next point...
- Calathes at starting point guard: Who is UF's best ball handler? Who is UF's best scoring threat? Who is UF's best passer? If you answered Calathes for two of the three, thank you because you have proved my argument. He needs to improve on defense and at the line, but I'd rather have Calathes making decisions late than Jai Lucas.
- Parsons in starting lineup: If you take Lucas out of the starting five, a spot is opened for Chandler Parsons. He averaged 8 points and 4 rebounds in 21 mpg and was a great change of pace guy. Some time in the weight room will give Parsons the strength he needs to play down low, but he's already shown a willingness to go to the bucket. He's long which will help defensively and a frontline of Parsons, Speights, and Kadji would be a force. Calathes and Hodge in the backcourt make for a very impressive five.
- Change nothing: UF lacked experience and size this season. One more year gets both. But if UF starts playing poorly, Donovan shouldn't move them to Florida Gym. He should send the team to Southwest Rec and have them sign up for treadmills and fight with everyone and their brother for a full court game. Ten minutes watching a bunch of kids from Boca miss 12-foot jumpers will inspire the team to work hard to get back in the practice facility.