Head Coach: Billy Donovan
The Florida Gators have had a very similar year to the UConn Huskies so far, being competitive in every game, but with more losses than they were expecting and no real signature wins. The Gators were ranked 7th in the preseason polls but have lost to Miami by 2, Georgetown in overtime, then #5 ranked UNC by 11, then #11 Kansas by 6, and Florida State by 2. Like the Huskies, Florida has been in every game due to their defense. They are 15th in the nation in points allowed at 56.3 and rank 7th in Kenpom's adjusted defense efficiency.
Part of the reason for the early struggles for the Gators is the fact that they have been battling injuries and eligibility issues throughout the season. Head Coach Billy Donovan has had to start six different starting lineups this season, and Michael Frazier II and Jon Horford are the only players to start all 12 games. Florida will go about 10 deep when they are healthy, including senior Jacob Kurtz, who used to be a manager for the team. The 6-6 senior forward plays over 22 minutes and averages 5.2 RPG. He's the kind of player who will have you asking, "Who's this guy?" when he does something.
#20 Michael Frazier II, Junior, Guard (6-4, 194): The team's best scorer, Frazier II is averaging 14.6 PPG while also pulling down 4.9 RPG. With his boyhood idol being Ray Allen, it is only fitting that he is a very good three-point shooter, shooting 37.8% from deep, including making at least one three-pointer in every game this season. Over the offseason, Frazier II improved his shot fakes and ball-handling so he can be more than a one-dimensional three-point shooter. Being the team's only returning starter from a year ago, he has stepped up big time, scoring in double digits in every game this season.
#10 Dorian Finney-Smith, Junior, Forward (6-8, 218): Second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG. Finney-Smith has the ability to consistently knock down three-pointers as he is 15-38 on the year. However, he has struggled mightily from the free throw line, only shooting 47.8%. The junior forward is the Gators' most versatile player, as he can play and guard all five positions. Finney-Smith has improved his finishing ability as he is now up to 50% from the field compared to his 37% shooting last season. He has scored in double figures in his last five games, including a 25 point performance against Jacksonville University.
#21 Jon Horford, Senior, Center (6-10, 245): The younger brother of former Gator Al Horford, he is averaging 8.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.3 BPG. Horford has a very nice touch, shooting 90.5% from the free throw line and 51.9% from the field. He can also step outside and hit the three as he is 7-28 on the year. Horford is a graduate transfer from Michigan, and has made an immediate impact as a vocal leader, and now has the ability to score in pick-and-roll situations and in transition. He has scored in double figures six times this season including a 17 point performance against Miami, where he went 3-6 from three.
#0 Kasey Hill, Sophomore, Guard (6-1, 182): Averaging 7.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and leading the team in assists with 4.4 per game. Hill joins Frazier II as the only two players who play over 30 minutes a game. He is a very good driver and runs the offense for the Gators, but is not a confident shooter as he is only 2-8 from three. The Florida coaches are encouraging him to shoot more as he does not have a bad-looking shot, but he has not proven himself in his career from deep. Hill is coming off a 17 point performance in the loss to Florida State, going 7-9 from the field.
#1 Eli Carter, Junior, Guard (6-2, 200): A transfer from Rutgers, Carter has been battling injuries and sickness all season. He has only played in seven games this season averaging 6.7 PPG and shooting 36% from three. The junior guard is very crafting driving the basketball and is capable of knocking down a couple of three-pointers. Carter showed his ability earlier this season in the loss to Miami, scoring 21 points on 8-9 shooting.
#23 Chris Walker, Sophomore, Forward (6-10, 220): The player who may have the most potential on the team, Walker is averaging 6.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. He is a freak athlete who has the ability to make highlight-reel plays, but is still adjusting to the college game. The Florida coaches have worked hard with the McDonald's All-American to improve his ability to play in the post as he is not a very good three-point shooter. Walker's best game of the year came in the loss to Kansas in which he scored 12 points on 5-6 shooting in 15 minutes.
#5 Alex Murphy, Junior, Forward (6-8, 225): Recently cleared to be eligible after transferring from Duke last season, he has only played in two games this season, averaging 7.0 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 23 MPG. Murphy has the ability to face-up and put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop. He scored 9 points in the win over Wake Forest and 5 in the loss to Florida State.
Florida is coached by Billy Donovan who is in his 19th season with the team where he is 458-173. Donovan has led the Gators to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 4 Final Fours and 2 National Championships in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. He led the Gators to the Final Four last season before losing to eventual national champion, UConn! Before Florida, Donovan coached at Marshall for two years where he went 35-20, giving him an overall record of 493-193. He was named the best coach in college basketball by a survey featuring ESPN.com writers.