Entering Thanksgiving week, Florida basketball is 3-1 and coming off a beat down of Florida State. The lone loss for the Gators was a three point loss to Virginia, and that was without suspended guard Zyon Pullin.
With the Gators seemingly at at full strength, opportunity awaits as Florida will travel to the Big Apple for a Thanksgiving business trip that could vault the squad into the territory of the ranked.
Florida Basketball: Hungry in the Big Apple
On Wednesday, Florida will take on the Pitt Panthers at 9:30 PM in Brooklyn, NY as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Pitt is currently 4-0 but they are unranked in the AP Top 25 poll. The KenPom index has the Panthers ranked 39th with Florida sitting at 36th.
A victory would advance the Gators on to play the winner of the Baylor vs Oregon State game on Friday. Baylor is the heavy favorite to win that one, sitting at 15th in the AP poll and 10th in the KenPom index.
A 1-1 week, with a win over Pitt but a loss to Baylor will gain the Gators respect and affirm that Florida basketball should be in the mix for a NCAA tournament bid this season. If the Gators lose to Pitt but beat Oregon State, it’s fine but won’t do anything to move the needle for the Gators.
An 0-2 outing would be a disaster and would open the door for a plethora of question marks.
But if Todd Golden and crew can go 2-0 and win the NIT Season Tip-Off, it opens the door for great possibilities this season. The Gators would surely be ranked by next week and the conversations of not only an NCAA, bid but a Sweet 16 and beyond berth could start to have some legs to it.
It’s cliche, but Wednesday’s game against Pitt could come down to the battle on the glass. Florida is number one in the country at offensive rebounds, collecting 48.5% of their missed shots. Pitt meanwhile is 7th in the country at defensive rebounding, collecting 84.6% of opponent misses.