Three things from Syracuse-Florida
Florida struggled from outside and in transition defense in their loss to Syracuse
The Gators missed F Erik Murphy, who helps create matchup problems on offense
Scoop Jardine paced the Orange's offense and is more ready than Dion Waiters
|No. 4 Syracuse||No. 10 Florida|
|Box Score Recap Complete Scoreboard|
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Here are three quick thoughts off Syracuse's 72-68 win over Florida here Friday night:
1. Fools' gold from 3 for the Gators? Florida made at least 10 3s in each of its first six games -- the longest run in Billy Donovan's 16-year tenure in Gainesville -- before settling for a 9-for-26 effort against the Orange, but is such proclivity the secret to success as the Gators head toward SEC play in a month? There were several instances Friday where an ill-advised jumper left Florida exposed in transition. As @jeffborzello from CBSSports.com tweeted during the game, Florida faces an abnormally high percentage of transition possessions (16.7 percent, per Synergy) and defends worse in those situations (1.13 points per possession allowed) than any other defensive set. While being a lesser team statistically in transition than halfcourt isn't surprising, you wonder how much some of Florida's questionable shot selection at times exposes the Gators needlessly to easy transition opportunities the other way.
2. Erik Murphy is a crucial component for Florida. Murphy missed a chunk of the Ohio State game with foul trouble and then a head injury, and missed the game tonight with a bone bruise in his knee. Without his combination of size and defense-stretching jump shot range, Florida either becomes very small and/or less balanced offensively. While Will Yeguete played pretty well in spurts Friday night, his skills are a more standard pairing with Patric Young. I have liked Young better offensively this season in the 4-out, 1-in look that Murphy helps provide. Young's game has evolved this season, but facing simpler one-on-one scenarios with no threat of a double will aid that production. Thinking forward, it's not clear how Florida will be able to defend Kentucky, but with a healthy Murphy, the Gators will create matchup nightmares for the Cats, as well.
3. Here's the Scoop: Cuse's PG situation still fluid. Does Dion Waiters have more natural talent than Scoop Jardine? Few would argue against that point. But is he ready to lead a top-five team? Waiters looked a bit impatient at times on his way to a 1-of-8 shooting night. Meanwhile, Jardine kicked in 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals to offset four turnovers. Like a number of other promising teams, the Orange likely will go as far as their point guard(s) take them. It might be better if Syracuse waits a couple of months to give Waiters the reins, but it's not as clear-cut a decision as some Orange supporters would like. The more-experienced Jardine made some huge plays down the stretch and deservingly received a standing O and a "SCOOOOOOP" cheer from the crowd at game's end.