Florida Gators Basketball Can Earn Top 25 Ranking Against Gonzaga
The Florida Gators men’s basketball team has a chance to join the women in the Top 25 with a victory over the No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The Florida Gators have begun the 2016-17 college basketball season in glorious style. After five games, Mike White has the Gators off to a 5-0 start with victories over five quality opponents.
On Friday, November 25, the Gators will have a chance to secure a Top 25 ranking during a massive showdown against the No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs.
All five of the teams that Florida defeated finished above .500 in 2015-16. Florida Gulf Coast went 21-13 and won the Atlantic Sun, Mercer went 19-15, St. Bonaventure was 22-9, Belmont went 20-12, and Seton Hall was 25-9 and won the Big East.
Florida Gulf Coast and Seton Hall made the NCAA Tournament, Belmont and St. Bonaventure made the NIT, and Mercer played in the CIT.
Not only has Florida earned five quality wins, but it’s done so at neutral sites. The O’Connell Center is currently under renovation and the Gators won’t make their 2016-17 home debut until Wednesday, December 21 against Little Rock.
With an impressive resume already forming, Mike White and the Gators have a chance to make another statement against Gonzaga.
Huge win for Florida. Huge win for Mike White. Huge win for the SEC. Gators took a step forward tonight by beating a solid Seton Hall team.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 25, 2016
The Bulldogs enter the clash with Florida at 4-0, with all four wins coming by at least 20 points. They haven’t yet played a team as tough as the Gators, but Gonzaga has intriguing talent and a revered head coach in Mark Few.
All three of Gonzaga’s top scorers from 2015-16 are gone, but the Bulldogs have reloaded and developed players in a powerful way.
Six different players are averaging at least 10 points per game and another two are averaging at least 7.0. That includes Killian Tillie, who’s averaging 7.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 17.8 minutes per game—numbers that translate to 15.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per 40 minutes.
It also includes Zach Collins, who’s averaging 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, and 31.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes.
Throw in transfer Nigel Williams-Goss and Gonzaga has power conference talent and one of the best coaches in recent history. More applicably, they’re a Top 15 team in the country as of November 25 and an NCAA Tournament mainstay.
Coach White has stressed that wins and losses don’t dictate team success this early in the season, which has his team focused on the lessons learned from said games.
If learning is the goal, then Florida is about to endure 40 minutes of a college basketball master class against Gonzaga.
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