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Florida vs. Stetson, Game Thread: Gators open home slate with Sunday matinee

The Gators get former Billy Donovan assistant Donnie Jones’s Hatters at the dawn of a long rebuild.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There are so many things we don’t know for sure about the 2020-21 college basketball seasons, thanks largely to COVID-19 outbreaks and protocols that seem likely to recur throughout the next several months and reshape teams and their schedules on a weekly basis.

One thing we do know is that teams like Florida should probably still stomp teams like Stetson in games like Sunday’s (2 p.m., ESPN2 or WatchESPN).

The Gators come in 2-0, having recovered from a halfime deficit to down Army and dominated Boston College for almost all 40 minutes in a rout. The Hatters are 0-2, losing to Division II Emmanuel College playing uncompetitive ball in a 82-60 loss to Miami.

Former Billy Donovan assistant and UCF head coach Donnie Jones leads the Hatters, but has a deep hole to dig from; in 2019, he inherited a program that hadn’t won 20 games in its previous two years combined, and while he steered it to a 16-17 mark in 2019-20, the Hatters also blew prime position to make a run at the NCAA Tournament (that would ultimately not occur) by losing their final four regular-season contests and getting knocked out of the their conference tournament before the final.

Florida is playing at home for the first time this year, and though it won’t be playing in front of a crowd, it should be heartened to shoot on its own rims. The Gators sank just four threes against Army, and only seven more — albeit at an efficient 41 percent clip — against Boston College, numbers that are somewhat low for a team with Tre Mann, Keyontae Johnson, Noah Locke, and Scottie Lewis in its starting five.

If Mann continues his hot start and TJohnson is anywhere close to his usual level, this should be a laugher. Even if those players are off, Florida should be fine against a Hatters squad that should be a back-of-the-pack ASUN team.