“I’m a bit baffled with our team right now.”
With a quote like that coming from Gators head coach Billy Donovan, you would assume the worst just happened. Instead, No. 1 seeded Florida defeated the No. 16 seed Albany Great Danes 67-55 Thursday afternoon to advance to the round of 32.
It couldn’t have been the offense that troubled him, they shot 51 percent from the field and had five Gators score in double digits.
Senior forward Casey Prather and sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith lead the team with 16 points. Senior Patric Young even managed to record a relatively quiet double-double, scoring ten and grabbing ten rebounds.
What more than likely irked Donovan was the Gators did the bare minimum to win the game and he saw that (at least defensively.) The oddsmakers had Florida winning by 21 when in all actuality it was as close as eight points with less than nine minutes remaining.
Albany had just three players score in double figures with senior guard DJ Evans leading with 21 points. They shot 39 percent from the floor and 30 from the three point line, yet there they were within reaching distance of an upset.
“This isn’t going to be enough to keep our season going” Donavan said to the team after the game.
He’s right, Albany’s numbers while not overwhelming were enough to hang around and be a cause for concern. The press was almost rendered useless and too many players went without contested shots. Donovan knows the deeper this team goes into March the better quality of opponent they will face.
In order for Florida to advance to their fourth Sweet 16, they’ll first have to get by the No. 9 seed Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday.