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2016 AdvoCare Invitational: Gonzaga vs. Florida game preview

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After a rocky game against Quinnipiac, the Zags get a big test.

NCAA Basketball: AdvoCare Invitational-Gonzaga vs Quinnipiac Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have shaken off any residual Thanksgiving hangover by Friday afternoon. The Zags will face off against the Florida Gators, and if they put forth the same effort they did against Quinnipiac, it might be a disappointing result.

The Zags struggled on offense against the Bobcats on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Gators looked stellar in a highly entertaining game against Seton Hall. The winner will get a crack at either Miami or Iowa State on Sunday, so there are plenty of bragging rights on the line.

Meet the opponent

Florida Gators, 5-0, KenPom #12

The first thing to know about Florida is that they play defense better than most teams in the country. They held their first four opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the floor, and that was against the likes of teams such as Florida Gulf Coast and Belmont—not the best, but good teams.

The Gators get offense from three key players: senior guard Canyon Berry, sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen, and junior forward Devin Robinson. Robinson, in particular, can be a nightmare for opponents to match up against. The 6’8 forward is a solid rebounder who has range, hitting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Florida’s offense works because they are fantastic at forcing turnovers, and are just as good at crashing the offensive glass. This isn’t the best shooting team. Florida’s eFG% is 48.1, only good for No. 220 in the nation. But they are athletic, they are long, and they will punish your needless mistakes.

What to watch out for

The Zags need to flat out play better.

On the offensive end, the Zags looked pretty wretched for a solid chunk against Quinnipiac. No one was feeding the ball inside. Players were just casually strolling up the court and launching up shots. There wasn’t much of a half-court offense in the first half. Many of the turnovers were unforced. All of that will add up to a loss against Florida. Bluntly speaking, Gonzaga needs a better, more controlled, more polished effort against Florida if they want to advance to the championship game.

Balanced attack is nice, but the Zags need a big game from someone.

The Zags nearly had eight players score in double figures against Quinnipiac. But no one really gave much of an added boost either. Nigel Williams-Goss shooting struggles continued. He now has an eFG% of just 40.5, noticeably lower than what he is capable of. Williams-Goss has still been a huge plus on the team, he finished with an ORtg of 117 against Quinnipiac thanks to his eight assists and five rebounds. Florida’s defense is good enough, however, that the Zags might have to turn to someone to take over. No one did that yesterday.

Oh hi Florida.

Game info

  • Time: 6:30 pm PT
  • TV: ESPNU
  • Radio: Gonzaga IMG Network
  • Online: WatchESPN