Another Florida Basketball loss
Well, I said earlier that I thought the game would be close, but that I couldn't say who would win. Of course, that was before I saw that Anthony Roberson got 2 fouls in the first 2 minutes of the game. I guess today's game demonstrated how much Christian Drejer's departure hurt our team's depth. Once Roberson went out, that was pretty much it for the first half. Our backup point guards--Ryan Appleby and maybe Lee Humphrey--are both freshman and neither is "battle tested."
Today's game was one of the sloppiest I've seen on both ends of the floor and for both teams. The up-side is that I think we can beat Kentucky if we keep out of foul trouble (ASIDE: I thought the officials had a huge impact on today's game... they called Roberson for two early fouls while they seemed relatively quiet on the whistle regarding fouls on Kentucky. I was pleased to see that, later in the game, they began calling fouls on Kentucky for hand-checking, reaching and bumping, but I think it was too little, too late. I mean, it was good to see those fouls being called, but those same fouls were being committed throughout the game, only they weren't called early. I think that ambiguity had a serious effect on the outcome of the game. END ASIDE) and take better care of the ball. I only hope we get a rematch in the SEC Tourney.
Weird work week
Tomorrow will be the only day this week that I report to work as I usually do. Tuesday through Thursday will be spent either on a plane or in El Segundo, CA and I'll have the day off on Friday (because I will have my 40 hours in by then). So, I get a short week and I get to fly out to California on the company's dime. I'm hoping it'll be as fun as it sounds and hopefully I'll get some chances to use my camera while I'm out west.
CA or bust
I'm officially going to El Segundo, California for three days next week. It doesn't sound like all that much, but since Dallas is the farthest west I've been since I was about 10, I figure it's kind of a big deal. Best part of it is that it's not even on my dime and I only have to work one full day while I'm there.
Florida wins again--four in a row
Well, after losing a tough one to Georgia on their court a few weeks ago, it was nice to hear that the Gators stepped it up at home and split the series. It seems like our guys have really started playin' big since Christian Drejer shipped out and they couldn't have picked a better time. We have to play at Kentucky on Saturday, then we get a little time off before the SEC Tourney. A couple weeks ago, I'd have said we wouldn't have a chance against Kentucky on their floor, but now I'd say it's anybody's game. With the offensive fire-power we've been able to rustle up, along with our new ability to refrain from choking away close games and small, late leads, I'd say we're one of the better teams in the SEC.
Billy Donovan said [paraphrase], "Christian Drejer is a great player, but our guys are playing better without him for some reason." After all the hype that Christian brought with him to America a couple years ago, it's hard to believe Billy would say that. But he's right and I'm almost glad Christian left. He was our leading assist man, but he wasn't contributing too much on defense and he wasn't being aggressive enough on offense. In the SEC, the more aggressive team often gets the win because of the up-tempo, quick-defense style of basketball that we play. I think Christian just didn't really fit into that style of basketball. I think that, after a little time as a pro in Europe, he might be able to find a home on an NBA team with a slower, half-court based game. I think he has a lot of work to do before that's a possibility, but I think it is a possibility.
I'm not going to make any predictions about the game on Sunday, but I will say that I think it's going to be close. I think the game will be decided by 7 points or less and there will be at least two lead changes under the 10-minute mark.
All cleaned up
It's finally happened. I'm finally settled into my apartment. The only odd-ball thing that remains is my old, busted-up computer desk and that's slowly being dismantled and shipped off to the junkyard. I've got everything set up as I want it and my place actually feels like a home.
Back to the grind
I'm not super excited about returning to work tomorrow, but I do feel like I had adequate time to relax and regroup this weekend. I guess some weekends feel too short--usually, this happens when I'm busy all weekend and never have a chance to stop and enjoy it--but this one felt about right. It doesn't hurt knowing that tomorrow I'll have a project waiting for me that I'm enjoying. There are still parts of my job that I don't particularly enjoy, but that's part of life and I'm very comfortable with taking the bad with the good.
Finally, a win
Christian Drejer has defected and our team has been given the daunting task of finishing the season well enough to secure a spot in the Tourney. As I watched our game at Ole Miss on Saturday, I immediately saw a flash of something special. The score see-sawed throughout the first half, but, as I spoke to a good friend during half time, I knew the second half wouldn't be a contest. I was confident that we'd keep our turnovers down and end up winning by 10 to 15 points. In fact, the final score was 81-66, Gators. That seems about right.
It's still evident that we have trouble defending the paint and I'm really not sure what we can do about it except to move faster and play better help defense. It doesn't seem like we're playing the wrong defense, or that we're incapable of playing the right defense, but that we're simply not executing quickly enough to stop faster teams who attack the basket inside. Hopefully, Billy D. will figure something out over the next few games. I think our guys are doing a great job of hustling for loose balls, creating turnovers and selecting high-percentage shots. Our offense is strong and can out score any team in the country if our defense will just pick it up a bit. I think we just need to move faster to disrupt passing lanes and help the perimeter defenders when they're beat off the dribble. That means a lot of switching and hustling to the weak spot on the floor. Our guys are capable of it and it looks like they're starting to realize the importance of consistent, aggressive defense. I just hope they're ready come March.
Real World quote of the week
"You are misinterprettating the situation..." - Brad
Quickly comin' together
Turns out my computer desk will be here tomorrow, so that means my apartment will essentially be settled and furnished by this weekend. That's just in time for me to ship out to El Segundo for a week. Ah, sweet irony.
Is there some sort of lame weblog award? I think I could win that. Speaking of winning...
Gators droppin' the ball
So, we had another basketball game tonight and things seem to be getting worse by the game. I'm pretty sure this is the worst season I've seen as a Gator. Tonight's loss was to Georgia, who already had 10 losses to our 6 or 7. We managed to lose another decent lead by crummy play, careless passing and cruddy defense. It didn't help that our only senior, Colas, and our best passer/assist leader were out for stupid reasons. Colas is apparently serving a 3-game, University imposed suspension for who knows what, while Christian Drejer is back in Gainesville contemplating playing pro ball in Europe. It looks like there's an outside chance that we could miss the NCAA Tourney this year, although that's extremely unlikely. I guess the upside is that we can't really do much worse and, although we just broke our streak of 98 consecutive weeks in the polls, we have an opportunity to begin a new streak. Of course, the streak I'm interested in starting is a winning streak.