Florida basketball opens NCAA Tournament play against St. Bonaventure
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies are looking for a rematch against the Gators, after losing to Florida early last season.
“We know a little bit better what those guys want to do, what they're good at." Chiozza said in response to the team's last outing against the Bonnies. "We’re just gonna try to make them do things they’re not comfortable doing.”
Head coach Mike White added, “These guys are really good. Heck, at the one, two, three, four, catch and shoot threes, finishing in transition, drawing fouls, using ball screens, creating their own shots. In addition they execute well.”
Florida's trying to draw from its SEC Tournament loss to Arkansas, hoping it will push them to fight harder in March Madness play.
“We had to sit there in St. Louis watching all the SEC games when we knew we should have been playing," said junior guard Jalen Hudson. "It really stung.”
As we've heard throughout most of the season, White stressed how key his team's defense needs to be. “If we defend the way we did against Arkansas we’ll be one-and-done in this tournament.
“Transition defense, ball screen defense, isolation defense, our guards defending their guards at a high level. Those things have to happen for us otherwise we might as well not show up.”
Florida's struggled with consistency when it comes to edge and competitiveness, so prior to this week's practices White shared negative comments about the Gators with his players. He hoped it would push them to be more competitive in practice, but he got the complete opposite result.
“I thought it might lead to us having a bunch of edge in practice, and we got off to a horrible start," said White. "Quiet, I had to tell the managers to stop cheering our guys on because it sounds like a library if they’re not getting after it. It’s just the personality of this team. That said I think the positive occasionally we can draw from this type of mentality is this team doesn’t really get rattled either.”
Tonight's matchup against the Bonnies kicks off in Dallas, Texas at 9:57 p.m. ET.