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Florida vs. James Madison, Game Thread: Gators look to put Dukes up

They’re playing basketball?

NCAA Basketball: Florida vs Clemson Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On a day when nearly every Florida Gators fan was focused on what the Gators of the gridiron will have to work with in 2018 and beyond, the Gators of the hardwood — men and women both, but this post is about the men, so — will hit the court again, trying to figure out how to work on their many flaws.

Florida, the No. 5 team in the country just two weeks ago, has now lost four of its last five games, and faces James Madison on this Wednesday night (7 p.m., SEC Network or WatchESPN) with more than a few questions to answer.

Can the Gators get shooting when they need it most? That remains to be seen. Florida shot the ball well against Clemson last Saturday, but bricked too many shots late to keep up with a slow-motion rally by the Tigers.

Can Florida defend a good offensive team well for 40 minutes? That’s even less clear — and the lackluster Dukes won’t be much of a challenge on the defensive end, having struggled to score efficiently against far lesser teams all year.

And will Florida get the contributions it needs — KeVaughn Allen coming up to the level he played at in past seasons, Keith Stone emerging, Egor Koulechov and Jalen Hudson catching fire again — to make a team still without its full complement of players more than the sum of its parts?

That, most of all, is in question. And Florida probably won’t find all of its answers tonight.

But the Gators can start searching.