Florida sits at 3-3, is ranked 22nd in KenPom, but due to injuries and guys sitting for disciplinary reasons I am not reasonably sure of anything the Gators will have to offer on Friday. Here's what we can piece together, however:
Florida has been dreadful offensively. Some of that is to be expected as Michael Frazier is basically the only offensive threat back, but it's even worse than I expected. The Gators are making just 44.1 percent of their twos and 29.5 percent of their threes. Of course this will certainly be the game they light it up, but I digress.
The Gators are big (77th in effective height) but I don't think they will be too much trouble defensively. They're 214th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim (via hoop-math) and they're even worse at allowing teams to get to the rim. Not to say the night should be all layup lines, but Kansas virtually lives at the rim, and I think it will be a big night for Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander, as well as possibly Landen Lucas if he gets enough playing time.
Jon Horford, Chris Walker, and Dorian Finney-Smith all either have size or length or both, but none is a very good interior defender. Even though Florida is fairly good at keeping opponents off the free throw line, I think Kansas will get there often due to their size advantage inside and the skill of Ellis.
The biggest battle to watch for me is on the boards. Kansas is 22nd nationally in offensive rebounding, grabbing 40.2 percent of its misses, and the Gators allow opponents to rebound just 26.5 percent of their misses. Kansas's big men are better rebounders than Florida's, but Florida's guards to an excellent job at hitting the glass. With how good Frank Mason has been on the glass, as well as Brannen Greene and Kelly Oubre when they're in, that advantage is mitigated a bit.
Speaking of Oubre, the Freshman came in and did a great job on Michigan State's Denzel Washington. I expect he will get some playing time in this one as well as Florida has a pair of wing players in Michael Frazier and Dorrian Finney-Smith who do a lot of their work on the perimeter. Finney-Smith should mostly be left alone out there, but Frazier is one of the best shooters in the country and having a rangy defender like Oubre, assuming he gives 100 percent effort, will be a big help in the effort defensively and on the glass.
One player who has sort of come out of nowhere for the Gators is Chris Chiozza. The Tennessee native was fairly lightly recruited but has been very good thus far for the Gators. He's making 63.6 percent of his twos and 33 percent of his threes. But what has been really impressive is his defense. Chiozza's steal rate is 7.5 percent, currently third best in the country. Mason, Graham, and whomever else plays point guard will have to be on their toes to avoid turnovers.
In this one, watch to see if Kansas is able to get the ball down low effectively, if their guards win the battle of the glass against Florida's, and if they can maybe possibly force a turnover or two for a change. I expect Kansas to win, but I expect the Gators to play much better than they've shown so far. If I had to predict a player of the game, since that is the thing to do now apparently, I'm going to roll with Cliff Alexander.