Florida State's Raiquan Gray works against Florida's Isaiah Stokes during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 81-60. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Game Preview: Florida hosts Florida State in Sunshine Showdown

The Gators Men’s Basketball team hosts Florida State in the Sunshine Showdown on Sunday, Nov. 10.

The Gators won their season opener against North Florida on Tuesday 74-59. The Seminoles lost their first game of the season against Pittsburgh 63-61.

Florida is looking to end a 5 game skid against the Noles, as the Gators are 5-5 in their last 10 against Florida State. Mike White will try to add his first career win against the Noles on Sunday.

Florida lost its last matchup against FSU 81-60 on Nov. 6, 2018. However, both teams have a new look. Florida added 5 new freshmen and a graduate transfer this season. Meanwhile, Florida State has 6 new players on its roster for 2019.

Keys to the game

Florida aims to show improvement on perimeter defense against the Noles. In Tuesday’s game against North Florida, the Gators gave up 11 three-pointers total with 7 coming in the second half.

Against Pitt, Florida State shot 6-20 from beyond the arc, while shooting 39.6% overall. The Gators likely will showcase similar rotations and minutes distribution as Mike White tries to find the sweet spot early in the season. With that, expect perimeter defense to improve somewhat.

Kerry Blackshear Jr, who shined in his Gator debut, will more than likely have favorable matchups all game long. Florida State’s tallest starter is Malik Osborne, who weighs in at almost 20 pounds less than Blackshear Jr and an inch shorter. Watch for KJ to dominate the glass much as he did against North Florida with 10 rebounds.

The Gators struggled to put the ball in the hoop early against UNF, starting 0-7 and letting the Ospreys get a small lead. Chalk that up to first-game nerves, as Mike White will have this team coming out fast.

Much like last game, the offense should start inside then move out. As inside looks from Blackshear Jr. and the frontcourt start to fall, outside opportunities on the perimeter should begin to open up for Locke, Mann and Nembhard.

Shooting slumps happen, but expect Florida’s shooting headlined by dead-eye Noah Locke to pick back where they left off last season and drain three-pointers at an impressive clip.


Tip-off for the Sunshine Showdown is Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. on ESPN

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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