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Florida needs to let the big dog eat


Mike Miller

On Tuesday afternoon, Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated wrote an extensive column on Florida.

Specifically, he wrote about how much Florida shoots from beyond the arc. He goes into quite a bit of in-depth statistical analysis -- seriously, go give it a read, there is a lot of rock-solid info in there -- but the general gist of what Glockner is saying is that Florida is living by the three right now. And not just any kind of three pointer, difficult threes -- contested catch-and-shoot jumpers and, in Kenny Boynton’s case, threes off the dribble.

Glockner’s point, more or less, is that the success that Florida had early in the season needs to be taken in perspective. There is no way they are going to be able to keep up their red-hot shooting taking the kind of shots they have been taken.

And if you watched the Gator’s beat Arizona 78-72 in overtime on Wednesday night, you’ll know exactly what Glockner is talking about.

Patric Young had the most dominant game of his young career against the Wildcats. Playing against a front line that simply doesn’t have the size to matchup with him, Young put on a show. He finished with 25 points on 12-15 shooting from the field and added 10 boards, six offensive.

Those numbers become all the more impressive when you consider the fact that there were times where it seemed like Young wasn’t even on the court.

Far too often, Florida’s guards opted to hoist up tough threes instead of getting the ball inside to their big man that was in the best rhythm of his career. Erving Walker and Boynton were the two biggest culprits, combining to shoot 5-27 from the floor and 2-15 from beyond the arc. The perfect example of this came on a possession with less than 30 seconds left in the game. Florida was down by one, but instead of getting the ball into their big man, Walker settled for a contested three off the dribble, which he missed.

Luckily, Young was there to grab the offensive rebound and put it back in, but the end result shouldn’t blind you to the issue at hand.

Florida needs to learn that their going to be at their best when Young is getting touches on every possession. As he continues to improve his back-to-the-basket game -- which is already world’s better than what he showed last season -- he is going to become more and more of an unstoppable force on the block. The Gators back court needs to understand that he is a weapon that will get them better looks at the rim when he commands double teams.

And until then, the Gators are going to be the exact same team that they have been the past two seasons: one that you cannot trust to put together four or five or six wins in a row in March.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.