Florida and Saint Joseph's tip off the Mohegan Sun Casino portion of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN3, available through WatchESPN. No one expects you to watch whatever portion of this game overlaps with Florida's football game against Florida Atlantic, but it's all right.
The Gators were excellent on Monday against North Carolina A&T, blowing out the Aggies by 50. But the Hawks present a different challenge for Mike White's bunch: They're 3-0 in 2015-16, and in the top 100 in both offense and defense, per KenPom.
They did beat Drexel by just a point in their season opener, but the Hawks also dispatched Niagara — the best team they've seen, by KenPom's sights — by 22 on Wednesday. And three Hawks have made at least 11 free throws through three games.
What's more? Their strength, at least on offense, might match up well with Florida's strength. The Gators want to press under White, and have done so with varying levels of success in their first two games; St. Joe's has conceded turnovers on just 15.2 percent of its possessions this season.
If Florida makes more than half of its threes again, it won't matter. But the Gators may have to beat St. Joseph's without getting too much offense from their defense.