Georgetown vs. Florida: Stars to Watch in High-Profile Season Opener

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Head coach Billy Donovan of the Florida Gators talks with Kenny Boynton #1 against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Georgetown and Florida will enjoy the unique experience of playing a game on the deck of an assault ship, the USS Bataan, on Friday night. The game also serves as the season opener for both squads as college basketball returns to the sports landscape.

The Gators open as No. 10 team in the nation after reaching the Elite Eight last season. The Hoyas made the third round of the tournament, but lost several key players from that team and must find a way to replace their production before they crack the rankings.

Let's take a look at the key player for each team before the first tipoff of the season.


Georgetown: Otto Porter

Porter is expected to take on a much larger role for the Hoyas after an impressive freshman campaign that saw him average 10 points and seven rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the field. Now, he'll transition from unsung hero to key cog.

The 6'8'' forward must find a way to become more effective on the defensive end. He averaged less than a block per game, which simply isn't enough for a player with his type of size and athleticism. His lack of fouls suggests he needs show more aggressiveness on that end of the floor.

Porter is in much better shape offensively. He showed good maturity for a freshman, using his touch to covert on a high percentage of his attempts. The Missouri native even showed off the ability to step beyond the arc to knock down threes.

His versatility should continue to be his biggest asset moving forward. Fans should get a good look Friday night at how he's reacting to his new role, but the potential is definitely there. He's a player to keep an eye on as the season progresses.


Florida: Kenny Boynton

It seems like Boynton has been with the Gators for about a decade, but that's just a product of being productive as a freshman and remaining in college for all four years. Most players that have his type of success bolt for the NBA.

The senior guard has steadily improved during his time at Florida, averaging 16 points to lead the team last season, along with three assists per game. He's especially a threat from three-point range, knocking down 41 percent of his attempts.

Now, the question becomes: Has Boynton reached his peak, or will he continue to improve? If the Gators are going to match or exceed their success from last season, the answer must be the latter. The status quo won't be enough.

It would be nice to see him start attacking the paint more instead of settling for so many jumpers. That's what can push him toward the 20 PPG mark. The Gators have several tough games early, so they need Boynton in midseason form right away, starting Friday night.