The Florida Gators are 3-3 on the young 2018-19 season, having fallen at Florida State and twice in three days at last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
But they are unbeaten at home, where they will meet North Florida on this Tuesday night (7 p.m., SEC Network or WatchESPN), and they will certainly hope to continue that trend against the Ospreys.
Who will lead Florida on this night? It is hard to say. Seniors KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson have only intermittently been the leaders of this team, and more by default than by dint of actual leadership, with both players going quiet for long stretches of action — and, in the case of Hudson, riding pine for extensive periods of play.
Freshman Andrew Nembhard looks like the leader on the court more often than not, but he is not a particularly vocal leader. If such a player exists on this roster, it is likely to be either senior Kevarrius Hayes or freshman Noah Locke.
If such a player does not exist? Well, coach Mike White might want to try anointing one.
The Ospreys should not be a particularly stiff challenge for the Gators. It has been almost three full years since their “Birds of Trey” season in 2015-16, when UNF posted one of the best three-point percentages in the country; this year, the Ospreys are making just 30 percent of their threes through six games, and their only wins are over non-D1 Edward Waters and Southern Miss.
UNF did give Dayton and Penn State decent games on the road, and is unlikely to be daunted by the O’Dome, even though it lost by a 108-68 count to the Gators in Gainesville a year ago. But UNF also doesn’t have the talent to match Florida’s, and even playing fast — maybe its strength — seems unlikely to help, as running only fuels the transition game that is the best part of the Gators’ offense thus far.
And Florida could use a lopsided win and a chance to stretch its legs.