A perfect month is a rare feat in college basketball.
With most teams playing several games each month, and usually seeing at least a couple of peer programs along the way — whether in non-conference or conference play — the chances of reeling off the six, seven, eight or more straight wins necessary to go something and oh for any stretch in November, December, January, February, or March are low.
But Florida’s men have that chance on Sunday against Troy (noon, SEC Network or WatchESPN).
The Gators are 5-0, and coming off a tournament triumph in the Fort Myers Tip-Off that featured one of their grittiest performances in recent memory and one of the most memorable shots in program history. Tyree Appleby’s three to beat Ohio State also gave Florida wins over teams from three different Power Five conferences in the early goings of this year, a nice feather to have in the cap come tourney time.
Troy represents a bit of a step down from that level of competition.
The Trojans, frankly, are weird: Their season-opening win was a 62-point incineration of Carver Bible College, one of those schools that just takes pummellings for pay, and their five games against Division I schools have been only slightly more logical. They lost at Butler despite leading 17-7 early and trailing by just four midway through the second half, but they also lost to a bad North Dakota team, and their wins over Jacksonville State and Florida Atlantic came in overtime.
The only team Troy has beaten in regulation this season is Tennessee-Martin — which itself counts a win over North Dakota as its only D-1 victory. And that’s not a good sign.
But Troy does actually do some things well on defense, including forcing turnovers, and coach Scott Cross isn’t hesitant to use his deep bench. Florida should be able to outclass and overwhelm this team — but the Trojans are probably going to keep coming in waves, and it will be the Gators’ task to make a lead large enough for comfort.