Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
<p>Florida guard Kasey Hill drives to the basket as Florida Gulf Coast forward Kevin Mickle defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday Nov. 11, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union via AP)</p>

Florida guard Kasey Hill drives to the basket as Florida Gulf Coast forward Kevin Mickle defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday Nov. 11, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

On Monday, the No. 24 Gators cracked the top 25 in The Associated Press Poll for the first time since 2014.

But Florida coach Mike White couldn’t have cared less.

He almost sounded annoyed.

“We haven’t talked about it. We’re not going to talk about it,” White said, “because it doesn’t mean much.

“We have a saying in our program: no noise.”

Beyond those outside distractions, UF will also have to block out up to 5,800 screaming fans inside UNF Arena tonight at 7 when the Gators (6-1) face the Ospreys (3-5) in their first true road game.

Florida cruised to a 97-68 win over UNF last season in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.

UF will try to repeat the shooting performance it put on against UNF in March, when it made 50 percent of its three-pointers.

Senior point guard Kasey Hill had 14 points against the Ospreys in the NIT.

“We actually were talking about (how to warm up) the other day in the locker room,” Hill said.

“Whatever we did last year pretty much is our routine that we should stick with this year, too.”

White said UF can’t rely on its shooting to do it all this time, though.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

The Gators will have to divert a lot of attention to defending UNF point guard Dallas Moore.

Moore averages 19.1 points per game, more than any player on either team, and White said he can make defenses pay if they leave him space to shoot from 24 feet or closer.

“He requires a guy and a half or two guys (to cover),” White said. “Going right, going left, getting downhill, shooting a step back, those are all pretty high-percentage shots for him.”

Hill already knows what Moore can do. The two are friends and played AAU ball together.

“He’s very crafty, he’s left handed, and he can really shoot it,” Hill said.

Overall, Florida’s defense has been solid through seven games, except for one factor, White said.

“We’ve got to defensive rebound better,” White said. “It’s our biggest team emphasis right now.”

Florida gave up 16 offensive rebounds against Miami on Sunday, leading to 13 second-chance points for the Hurricanes.

Hill said the departure of Dorian Finney-Smith to the NBA plays a big part in the rebounding deficiency. Finney-Smith, now a Dallas Maverick, averaged a team-high 8.3 boards for Florida in 2015-16.

Florida will try to improve its rebounding and hold onto its first ranking in two years when the game tips off at 7 p.m.

“Other guys have to step up, and I think they will,” Hill said.

Contact Matt Brannon at mbrannon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @MattB_727.

Florida guard Kasey Hill drives to the basket as Florida Gulf Coast forward Kevin Mickle defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday Nov. 11, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.