5 Observations from Florida (w/vid)

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— KeVaughn was great. Hit some big-time shots, both in difficulty and timeliness. If he was a few inches taller, he’d be headed to the NBA after this year. Better for Florida that he’s not. They may get 4 years out of him.

— I thought the difference in the quality of shots generated was striking. Arkansas’ guards are good one-on-one players and you can tell making the quick decisions (cuts and passes) in Mike’s motion O doesn’t come naturally. The cuts aren’t sharp and the ball sticks and so guys go to what they know best, making a play for themselves… after a lot of dribbling. Little side-to-side action or moving the floor to make the defense work. Too often there’s a disconnect, so guys are driving into crowds because the rest of the team is still going through their cuts. There have been some signs of improving cohesiveness and the team is better with certain guys out there as catalysts (Anton, Manny, Macon made an effort tonight), but Thursday was a step back. Hard to play one-on-one ball against a team as long and athletic as Florida. The Gators, on the other hand, generally have great spacing and will automatically recognize and shift into different spots to maximize room. Kasey Hill got into the paint at will, but it was made easier by the scheme.

— Macon had another big night. Averaging close to 20 his last 4. He manages to burrow his way to the rim through traffic with ease seemingly every time. Can pound the rock too much at times and will take bad shots, but his scoring ability is very important. Really seems to be settling in.

— Moses rebounded well and had 4 blocks, but was 5-15 with 3 bad turnovers. Struggled against length and was kind of a black hole on offense. He played well against an undersized Sam Houston State team but Moses postups have been pretty inefficient especially given the volume of them lately.

— Florida was much longer and more athletic than Arkansas. Devin Robinson is a freak. The difference between the athletes on the two squads, as a whole, was striking to me. Played a role in Florida’s 16 offensive rebounds, some of its blocks and a lot of Robinson’s ‘wow’ plays.

— Stray thoughts, which don’t include the fact that Florida took 26 3-pointers to Arkansas’ 15. That’s a BIG gap. It was 26-13 late. Hogs not getting a lot of 3s up for a second straight year. With Hannahs being a senior, makes you wonder if they’ll try to target some shooting in a grad transfer or spring signee. Obviously C.J. Jones should factor in a lot more next year, but none of the current signees are plus shooters at this point, so it’d be something that would be in the back of my mind if I was Mike.

Our defense is going to have to improve switching and perimeter coverage. Florida is a better team with better players. Period.

5-15 FG and 3 bad turnovers = 6 points on turnovers + the impact of 10 shots being missed by one player. We were one and done on many offensive possessions so it is possible those 10 missed shots were about 7 lost possessions. That is a big point differential impact.

I love Moses but MA has to tell Moses to quit worrying about scoring. Moses needs to face it that he is trying too hard to live up to POTY role and that everyone is gunning for him to prove a point. Moses needs to play defense, rebound and pick up garbage baskets until he gets in better position for shots.

Florida is quite impressive. It makes a big difference watching a ball game from near the court instead of on TV.

The front court is extremely quick on their feet and more than that can get off the floor as quick as I have seen. Only Moses on our team somewhat matches up with that.

The Robinson kid is awesome. Long, athletic, runs the floor and shot the ball better than I have seen him before.

They have a PG in Casey Hill, that was a McDonalds AA who is finally playing to his level. Super quick and mostly makes good decisions.

KeVaughn is a great guard, but I have not seen him shoot like he did against us. At least two of his threes were shot from way out after a dribble and a defender close by. No way, they go in 80% of the time. They did against us and killed our rallies.

Biggest rally killer however was Dustin Thomas fouling Robinson for no reason on a three point attempt off an in-bound throw in, when we had drawn within four of Gators right at the start of the second half. We had two Gator turnovers ending with a three by Beard and Dustin just killed the rally and we never got that close. One more stop there and we would have put pressure on Gator shooters. No way those Allen threes go in under pressure.

There may be complaints about us not covering three point shooters better. But it was so impressive to see Gators move the ball around or dribble penetrate with purpose and create open shots. It was impressive display.

As Michael White said they had their best game of the year and are so glad to get this game out of the way with a win.

Let’s stop talking about Kingsley as preseason POY. We all know POY is going to be someone from Arkansas, but it is not Kingsley. Kingsley needs to stop forcing shots and take what is given to him. Twice he passed open jump shots that he has shown he can hit, and instead dribbled into turnovers or into Manny Watkins shot put type of shots.

We cannot win games like this if Dusty does not get his shot back. We win this game if Dusty from last year had shown up. But then again I gave seen Dusty go into a funk like this in high school. I always thought what he did last year was out of norm.

Macon is the only one that is playing well right now, consistently.

If Mike can get Kingsley, Hannahs and Barford going like they can play, we have a chance at a very good season. Cannot win big games without those those three playing well.

With those three and Macon playing well, we can live with what Cook is producing a little more from Thomas. I still think Thomas is playing too much close to the basket.

I don’t consider this a bad loss. Of course depends on what happens next.

That’s why I cringed every time the media made a big deal about Moses not scoring a lot in some games. I been saying from the start I thought he was playing fine early in the year when he was just focusing on blocks, rebounds, and drawing double teams and making good passes. Moses is not a back to the basket run your offense through him type of big man, like Portis was. He just doesn’t have that skill set. He’s a hustle, get put backs, and transition buckets type of player, and he can post you up every now and then. If he does that with this team we’ll be fine, if he forces shots and tries to be the man like last night, we’ll be in trouble against good teams, which most SEC teams have a good big man.

Also, CMA has gotta go ahead and put Beard and Cook in starting lineup. I would also say Barford has got to get back in the starting lineup, his production off the bench isn’t good, he just looks out of sync with second unit. Watkins and Hannahs need to be the guys off the bench. Watkins is kinda interchangeable he brings same thing in the starting lineup and off the bench. And for some reason Hannahs just shoots better coming off the bench, not sure why CMA changed it back when he was playing so well.

I agree with your starting lineup of Kingsley, Cook, Barford, Macon and Beard. Yes, Manny and Dusty will be both better off coming off the bench. I think Dustin can play a lot better, but he just needs to go the bench and take some pressure off him.

Jimmy, I've cut and pasted your most keen insight into the Anderson half court system. It will be appropriate for you to use in any Anderson season here. Too much one-on-one with no thought to getting the ball to a shooter in an open spot for scoring chance. Conversely, Florida moved around with purpose. More open looks, more threes, better spacing, harder to defend, better position for offensive rebounding. Just good basketball.

When I watched the game, the Hogs seemed almost overwhelmed on some possessions. I’m not the most sophisticated basketball fan, but Florida just looked a LOT better and Arkansas really didn’t look like a NCAA quality team.

It helped me understand why the Hogs aren’t ranked. They really dont pass the eye test.

A lot can change over the next few weeks, but I would be surprised if they win a game before Miss State.

Interesting hypothesis that last year was the outlier. He’s shooting 36.8 percent from 3, which basically identical to the 36.9 and 37.4 percent he hit his two years at Tech.

Yeah, I was echoing this on radio last week and have written it a few times. He is not a great back-to-the-basket guy, but they keep force feeding him and it’s pretty obvious he feels like he needs to be a scorer and knows if he doesn’t take those shots, the guards aren’t exactly setting him up for easy looks. I’d be interested to see his points per post-up this year. I’d guess it’s somewhere in the 0.7-0.75 range.

That is my observation after watching him at PA and the numbers from TT. Good news is (sounding like Bielema now) if my hypothesis is correct, Dusty is about to go on a shooting streak followed by a a small slump.

There’s a reason Florida is a top-15 defense. They had played a much tougher schedule than us (also top 15), all of it on the road. They couldn’t have been more prepared for that game, and Texas was the only team that we had seen all year with even close to that kind of length and athleticism. Thanks, SEC. They finally give us a home opener, and it’s against our second-worst matchup in the SEC with a bowl conflict when the students aren’t on campus.

There are two more outstanding defenses in the SEC, UK and USC. After that, a fairly steep dropoff. I wouldn’t give up on our O yet. The most striking aspect of the boxscore is that Kingsley took 15 shots, 50% more than anybody else on the team, and only made 5. Barford, who has by far the worst offensive rating among the guards, took 8 and only made 1. The rest of the team had an effFG% of 58% and was 13 of 14 at the line. That wasn’t an optimum shot distribution. Guys who can make open shots need to take them instead of running into that kind of length and taking highly contested twos.

Allen is real inconsistent. To this point, he doesn’t do much of anything on the court besides make shots. When he does, he’s a major asset. When he doesn’t, he’s a small guard that can shoot them out of games.

I want to say it again. Allen made some shots in that game that I have not seen before. I called my ex-coworkers in Jacksonville to verify since they watch every Florida game. They confirmed. One of them said that KeVaughn looked like he had this game circled on his calendar.

I have seen this often. When guys play against their home school in an away game, it is either feast or famine. Remember Jimmy Whitt’s best game was at Missouri.

Great Point. I remember we all though he had arrived after that game. And that was pretty much the highlight of his career here.

We have two players, Macon & Moses, that would be in Florida’s top 10. Sorry but Floridas talent is much better than ours.

How many times did Florida make a layup when throwing the ball in under their basket…3-4. Shades of Coach Pel. Either are players aren’t very smart or we aren’t coaching them correctly. This should never happen

I do agree that Florida has more talent, but I wouldn’t say we only have 2 guys that would be in their top 10 players. I don’t think there is any team in the country that wouldn’t make room for Dusty Hannahs in their rotation based on his shooting ability.

Also, Florida’s top 8 guys are all pretty good, but outside of that they don’t have much else.

I respectfully disagree. Something I’ve noticed about Dusty last year was if he took his first shot (3ptr, jumper, or even FT) and missed he had a horrible shooting night, and the rest of his game wasn’t good enough to recover. Now, I think he is a little better player this year (not a shooter, but other aspects of his game), but if he misses that first shot, we still have issues when he is in.

I know people say let a shooter shoot and he will get back in rhythm, but I don’t think Dusty does. JMO about Dusty, not sure some teams would make room for him because of his issues in the rest of his game. Again, only my opinion, I know most will disagree.

Just to make sure I remembered it correctly from watching it at BWA, I went back this morning to watch the game on DVR. Making a layup when throwing the ball in under the basket, happened exactly three times.

Instance 1 - After a timeout, Florida is throwing the ball in under the Florida basket in the first half. Florida has two guys close to the basket waiting for the pass and Devin Robinson is standing about 30 feet from the basket. One of the two close to the basket makes a move towards the basket, the guy throwing the ball in gives a ball fake and Arkansas defender positioned to cover Robinson bites and makes a move to help defend the throw in. Florida throws the ball to Robinson, who is now wide open. Robinson runs in, catches the pass and rises above everyone for a thunderous dunk. A well designed play out of a TO. Kudos to Coach White.

Instance 2 - Watkins is throwing the ball in under the Arkansas basket. Gives a ball fake and the guy covering Macon bites, Watkins throws it in to Macon for a layup. Nice work between Watkins and Macon.

Instance 3 - Florida is throwing the ball in under its basket. The 5 second count is at 4.5 seconds, Arkansas players somewhat relax waiting for the whistle, forget about Stone {I think) who has now moved and is open. He receives the pass for a layup.

So it happened three times, but one of those three instances it was Arkansas doing that to Florida. I am not sure if you watch other college basketball games, but I have seen this happen to the coaches and players who you probably consider smart. Yes, I have seen this happen to Coach K. What Robinson did to us, Scotty Thurman used to do regularly, except it wasn’t a dunk. Scotty would simply rise, catch the throw in and shoot a five footer while everyone else was frozen to the floor.

If Instance 3 happens over and over again, I would concur that our coach is not a smart coach and the players are not smart enough to be coached. But that is just not the case.

Dusty is a pre-season second team all SEC selection and was named one of the top 100 college basketball players by CBS. To say he wouldn’t make a 10 man rotation, on a team that only plays 8-9 guys is disingenuous. If Dusty had a year of eligibility left and announced he was transferring he’d be one of the most sought after transfers in the nation and could go to any school he wanted.