Two springs ago, Marshall became one of the darlings of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, using speed and shooting to bring down a talented Wichita State team as a No. 13 seed — and revealing to much of the world that longtime NBA coach Mike D’Antoni had a brother, Dan, who was replicating his style in the collegiate ranks.
Since then, the Thundering Herd hasn’t been back to the same level of the national stage, though they did win 20 games again in 2018-19 and blitzed to a CIT title. (Neither you nor I, reader, knows what CIT means without looking it up.) But when their overcaffeinated style, an offshoot of the “Seven Seconds or Less,” came up against some of the better teams they saw a season ago, it resulted in lopsided losses: Maryland and Virginia each made it to 100 points against Marshall and won their games by 36 and 37.
And Florida, which welcomes Marshall to the O’Dome on this Friday night (9 p.m., SEC Network or WatchESPN), has the athletes to run with D’Antoni’s charges.
Scottie Lewis is obviously the first name to come to mind when discussing Gators athletes, and the guy with insane hops and supreme speed should thrive if this game is an up-tempo affair. But this could also be a coming-out party for Tre Mann, whose game is predicated on rhythm, or a continuation of a strong freshman season for waterbug point guard Ques Glover.
And if Florida can find easy shots at speed, this could be a rare game for the Gators thus far this year: A runaway win.