The Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas will open their new college basketball seasons when they square off in the 2012 Navy-Marine Corps Classic in Jacksonville on Friday night.
The Gators are the 10th-ranked team in the nation and are hoping to contend in a very competitive but winnable SEC this season. Billy Donovan is one of the top coaches in America and will have his guys ready to start the season in fine form.
The Hoyas open the season with two games against teams ranked in the top 15 (No. 10 Florida and No. 13 UCLA), and these early-season tests will be a good way for head coach John Thompson III to learn the strengths and weaknesses of his roster.
Let's look at a preview for the 2012 Navy-Marine Corps Classic.
When: Friday, November 9 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, FL
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Betting Line: N/A
What's At Stake?
This game means more to the Hoyas than the Gators. Georgetown is an inferior team who have to prove to themselves that they can beat a top team like Florida.
Outside of their November 19th matchup with UCLA and this matchup against Florida, the Hoyas don't have a very strong out-of-conference schedule. If they lose Friday night, it might be tough for Georgetown to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament if they are on the bubble.
Defeating Georgetown and Wisconsin on November 14th would be a great way for the Gators to start what promises to be a very successful season in Gainesville.
Most Important Player
Kenny Boynton played very well for the Gators last season and was the team's leading scorer. He averaged 15.9 PPG, which was just ahead of Bradley Beal, who was drafted No. 3 overall by the Washington Wizards in June's NBA Draft.
Boynton is the best pure scorer on the Florida roster, and for the Gators to stretch the floor on offense, their shooting guard must shoot a high percentage from beyond the arc.
The Gators offense is much more effective when Boynton plays well, so it's important for him to have a good start to the game on Friday night.
Patric Young's size and scoring ability in the low-post makes him a tough matchup for any big man in the nation.
Georgetown will need to box him out because his rebounding ability is tremendous, and he will dominate the Hoyas on the offensive glass if not defended well.
Young is one of the best centers in the nation and a likely first-round pick in next year's NBA draft if he decides to leave school early.
The player who guards Young will have to play physical with him and not allow him to run the floor and get easy baskets. This is a difficult matchup for Georgetown, but to have any shot of upsetting Florida, the Hoyas must contain Young.
Florida wins 80-65