The No. 10 Florida Gators open their season Friday night against the Georgetown Hoyas on the deck of the USS Bataan in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. For a Gators offense that has traditionally been built around three-point shooting under coach Billy Donovan, playing in the elements will provide a unique test.
Donovan does not plan on altering his game plan to match the weather, and he chose not to hold any practices outside leading up to the game. However, the Gators did participate in a shootaround on the deck of the ship Thursday afternoon.
Florida players Patric Young and Kenny Boynton both realize the challenges faced by playing outside. They pointed to the poor shooting percentages in last year's outdoor game between North Carolina and Michigan State as a reason to make a more concerted effort to take the ball to the basket (via The Gainseville Sun):
"Hopefully we can just run our offense," Young said. "Coach talked about the game last year, North Carolina-Michigan State didn't shoot that well from 3. We'll look to go inside more and attack the basket more rather than shoot the 3-point shots we're known for."
Donovan has had discussions with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo about how to deal with the conditions. The forecast calls for temperatures between 40-50 degrees with winds at around nine miles per hour, so keeping the players warm will be key.