Florida basketball looking to bounce back vs USF in Orange Bowl Classic

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The Florida Gators men’s basketball team is 17-4 all-time at the Orange Bowl Classic, and they are set to take on the University of South Florida Bulls on Saturday.

It’s been a rough December for the Gators. Losses to Oklahoma, Texas Southern and Maryland have brought the team back to reality after a perfect 6-0 start to the season. The game against the Sooners was forgivable, but the other two will likely hurt come time for tournament selection.

There are a few reasons for Florida’s downfall over the last two weeks. The defense isn’t as sharp as it once was, and foul trouble has kept key players such as Colin Castleton off the floor in crucial moments. Although Castleton dropped a career-high 26 points against North Florida, he fouled out with a few minutes left to go against Maryland. Tyree Appleby, the team’s only hot shooter that night, missed a game-winning three without Castelton down low to draw attention off him.

It’s a small blunder and Castleton certainly didn’t try to foul out, but the team appears to lack the same discipline they started the season with. Rebound numbers are trending down and the three-point shooting that helped the Gators win early in the year is now hit-or-miss on any given night.

Consistency is what’s lacking right now for this Gators team, but South Florida (which is actually located in the west part of Florida) should fare about as well as North Florida did against UF (85-55). The Bulls are ranked 263rd in the NET rankings, and the neutral court doesn’t bump them up from being a Quadrant 4 team. It should be an easy win for the Gators on paper, but Florida has struggled in the past against lesser teams.

The main thing to look out for is Bulls guard Javon Greene. He leads the team in points per game and is the best three-point shooter on the team. There’s also Russel Tchewa to scheme around, a 7-foot center that has the size to give Castleton some trouble.

The Gators will take on Stony Brook on Wednesday before starting the conference schedule on Dec. 29. With two Quadrant 3 losses already under Florida’s belt, these are must-win games for the Gators.

How to follow Florida basketball vs USF Bulls on Saturday

Projected Starting Lineups:

FLORIDA

Player

Pos

H/W

Class

Anthony Duruji

F

6-7 / 220

Senior

Colin Castleton

F

6-11 / 231

Senior

Phlandrous Fleming Jr.

G

6-5 / 185

Senior

Brandon McKissic

G

6-3 / 185

Graduate

Myreon Jones

G

6-3 / 175

Graduate

SOUTH FLORIDA

Player

Pos

H/W

Class

Sam Hines Jr.

F

6-6 / 215

Freshman

Russel Tchewa

C

7-0 / 280

Sophomore

Javon Green

G

6-4 / 195

Senior

Caleb Murphy

G

6-4 / 185

Freshman

Jamir Chaplin

G

6-5 / 200

Sophomore

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