Florida has won its last four outings to improve to 5-1 on the young season. The lone loss came at Ohio State by seven points, but that was actually an impressive showing considering how dominant the Buckeyes have looked thus far. The most recent outing for Billy Donovan and his Florida squad came on Monday, a 96-70 triumph over Stetson on a neutral court, and that win marked the 400th in Donovan's coaching career.
The Orange have yet to taste defeat, as they have rolled to seven consecutive victories, including six by double digits, despite well-publicized distractions off the court. In the team's first game since associate head coach Bernie Fine was fired for alleged sexual misconduct, head coach Jim Boeheim received a standing ovation from the supportive Carrier Dome crowd, and his players were dominant in an 84-48 romp over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday.
Syracuse has won two of its three all-time meetings with Florida, and all three previous matchups have taken place on a neutral court.
There is no question that Florida's strength is its backcourt, as the top four scorers on the roster are all guards. Kenny Boynton leads the way with 18.5 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the floor, including 48.9 percent from three- point range. Bradley Beal, a standout freshman, checks in with 17.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg, while Erving Walker provides 13.7 ppg and 5.3 apg. With Mike Rosario netted 12.0 ppg on 51 percent field goal efficiency, there is obviously no shortage of capable scorers at the guard position, though center Patric Young (10.2 ppg) and forward Erik Murphy (10.0 ppg) are at least adequate offensive performers up front. UF is pouring in 90.8 ppg while holding opponents to 65.3 ppg. In the romp over Stetson last time out, Beal spearheaded a balanced attack with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Walker added 21 points and six assists. The Gators finished that game with 22 assists and only 10 turnovers while forcing 18 giveaways.
It's hard to imagine Syracuse playing much better than it did in the romp over Eastern Michigan last time out. The Orange shot 50 percent from the floor while limiting their overmatched opponent to 34.7 percent field goal efficiency. Syracuse earned a 37-30 rebounding advantage as well and finished with 21 assists against six turnovers while forcing 17 giveaways. James Southerland scored 19 points off the bench for the Orange, as Boeheim didn't play any starter more than 27 minutes. Brandon Triche tallied 12 points and Kris Joseph had 11 points. Joseph leads the team with 14.7 ppg this season, and Dion Waiters provides 11.9 ppg in a reserve role. Triche is netting 11.0 ppg and Southerland provides 10.6 ppg for Syracuse, which is generating 83.1 ppg while holding foes to 57.0 ppg on 37 percent shooting from the floor.