Nov 13, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators guard Mike Okauru (0) shoots a free throw during the second half against the Gardner Webb Runnin Bulldogs at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Florida To Take On Stanford in the First Round of The PK80 Tournament

The time has finally come. Between Thursday and Sunday, the Gators will have their first opportunity this season to start building their resumes for March. Florida starts off the PK80 Tournament with a Thanksgiving Day match-up vs. Stanford at 10 p.m. While the Cardinals have struggled this season, starting off the year 3-2 with losses to Eastern Washington and UNC, this will be the Gators’ first chance to pass the litmus test vs. a Power5 opponent.

The Tournament

This is the inaugural year of the PK80 Tournament a.k.a the Phil Knight Invitational. The tournament is being held in celebration of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. 16 teams, including No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 7 Florida and No. 9 North Carolina will compete in the tournament. The event is being held at the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Colisseum in Portland, Oregon and will feature 10 of the last 14 national championship-winning school.

The schools competing in the PK80 Tournament hold a combined 23 national championships, 89 Final4 appearances and 391 NCAA Tournament invitations.

Probable Starters (Florida)

  1. Chris Chiozza (8.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 42.9% 3P)
  2. KeVaughn Allen (10.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 37.5% 3P)
  3. Egor Koulechov (20 PPG, 8 RPG, 1 SPG, 45% 3P)
  4. Keith Stone (3 PPG, 42.9% FG, 33.3% 3P)
  5. Kevarrius Hayes (6.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 58.3% FG)

Probable Starters (Stanford)

  1. Isaac White (12.8 PPG, 46.7% FG, 46.4% 3P)
  2. Daejon Davis (6.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG)
  3. Michael Humphrey (12.2 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 54.5% 3P)
  4. Oscar Da Silva (7.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 60% 3P)
  5. Reid Travis (21.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 53.6% FG)
Reid Travis (22) lays up the ball against the California Golden Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Who To Watch For

Reid Travis is far and away the most exciting and talented player on this Stanford Cardinals squad. The 6’8″, 245-pound junior forward has played 32 or more minutes in every game this season and most recently posted 21 points on 8-13 shooting vs. UNC on Monday. Travis is so athletic that he even had an offer from Boston College to play football out of high school.

Reid Travis can body with the best of them and will give Keith Stone, Kevarrius Hayes and Gorjok Gak a run for their money. If the Gators don’t trap Travis in the post with double-teams, limiting his ability to post up Florida’s big men individually, he could be in for a big day like Tanner Leissner had for New Hampshire.

Along with Travis, senior Michael Humphrey brings another big-bodied presence down low. Humphrey has two double-doubles on the season, but struggled vs. UNC, finishing with only 10 points and 4 rebounds. North Carolina eliminated Humphrey from the game by getting out in transition, limiting his ability to alter shots at the rim.

Feb 25, 2017; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Michael Humphrey (10) drives the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the game at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford’s Style

Stanford, like New Hampshire, tries to slow down the pace to their liking when facing a “smaller” team such as Florida. I put smaller in quotations due to the fact that both starting center John Egbunu and top-ranked recruit Isaiah Stokes are still out with knee injuries. The Cardinals have attempted the 18th-most free throws in the nation and have a knack for getting to the charity stripe. If Stanford wins this contest, it’ll be because their tempo turned Florida’s offense anemic.

By The Numbers

  • In KenPom’s most recent ratings, Florida is ranked 11th, while Stanford is slotted 65 spots lower at No. 76. The Gators rank 18th in offensive efficiency and 8th in defensive efficiency, while the Cardinals rank 100th in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
  • Stanford is Mike White’s first ever PAC-12 opponent as the head coach of the University of Florida. The Gators last faced off against a PAC-12 squad in the 2014 Sweet 16, when they took on UCLA.
  • KeVaughn Allen is just 45 points away from joining the illustrious 1,000-point club at UF. Only 52 players in program history have scored 1,000 points or more. Kasey Hill is the most recent player to join the group.
  • Florida is 0-4 all-time against Stanford, with losses coming during the 1974-1975, 1988-1989, 1990-1991 and 2002-2003 seasons.

How To Watch/Listen

Thursday’s game tips off at 10 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2/WatchESPN app with Doug Sherman and Dan Dakich on the call. You can listen to the game on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Ted Emrich and Mark Wise on the call.

About Jake Winderman

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