Florida was stuck in a rut offensively in mid-January following back to back losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
UF’s assist-to-turnover was 20-28 during the two-loss week. The offense was stagnant. Ball movement and player movement wasn’t crisp.
Fast-forward close to a month later, and Florida’s ability to share the basketball effectively has fueled its current six-game win streak. The Gators have recorded 99 assists to 71 turnovers during the stretch.
Florida had 67 assists in its first six SEC games. Asked about Florida’s improved assist total of late, Florida coach Mike White responded: ” We sold out to more of our ball-screen continuity. We’ve given the guys a little bit more freedom here recently, and guys have taken advantage. Our ball movement has been better. We’ve also moved a little bit better without the ball. And when you’ve got guys making shots, of course your assist numbers go up as well.”
— Florida senior forward Justin Leon is shooting a team-high 41.8 percent from 3-point range (minimum 50 attempts). Much has been made of Leon’s chest-high release, but the 6-foot-8 forward has become proficient making trailing 3-pointers in transition. Leon said he’s developed a good chemistry with point guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza on finding open spots on the floor behind them from beyond the 3-point line. Asked if he calls for the ball, Leon responded: ““Sometimes I do, sometimes they already know it. I may say, but I think deep down they already know that I’m back there.”
— White said he expects senior point guard Kasey Hill to bounce back positively after finishing with more turnovers (5) than points (3) against Texas A&M. “Kind of the outlier there,” White said. “Just that game was a little bit out of the norm for him because he has been very consistent, and I agree with you. We’re about to watch film, in fact right now, he just popped into the office, so we’ll watch here in a few minutes. Probably overall just the mindset going into the game, I think he told one of my assistants yesterday, he’s probably overly comfortable in warmups and didn’t quite possess that edge that he’s had here, of late, that you’ve got to have. He knows that. He’s a senior. I think he’ll bounce back.”
— Florida is not expecting to see as much zone defense on Tuesday night against Auburn, but that doesn’t mean the Gators didn’t work on it after their struggles against the zone on Saturday against Texas A&M. “A little bit of a concern,” White said. “We didn’t handle it very well the other day against Texas A&M. That said, they might have the longest zone, probably right there with Baylor, as anyone in the country. So that was a pretty unique zone. Our efficiency against zone when you look at the numbers really hasn’t been all that poor, although our last game wasn’t great of course, but the transition from transition offense into our zone offense, I’d like to see us get into it quicker and recognize it quicker and recognize our responsibilities quicker. The flow of getting into zone offense, we’ve got to continue to improve upon. We worked on it a bunch (Sunday).”