It's no secret that this year's UF men's basketball squad is young. Just about every team breakdown mentions it, and they're right. There are no seniors, and just two juniors on the roster. Some point to the '04-'05 team as a comparison, and state that the "Big 3" of Horford, Noah and Brewer stepped onto campus in a similar situation and they ended up winning two national championships. Well, let's take a look at just how accurate that comparison is.
The '04 team started two freshmen(Horford & Brewer), two juniors(Walsh & Roberson) and one senior(Lee). The '07 lineup consists of two freshmen(Calathes & Lucas), two sophomores(Speights & Werner) and one junior(Hodge). Right away it's apparent that this year's team, while it's starting the same amount of freshmen, lacks the upper classman experience that the '04 team had. And what about the key bench players?
That 2004 Gators team had two freshmen(Noah & Green), two sophomores(Humphrey & Richard) and one junior(Moss) coming off of the bench. This year's team has three freshmen(Parsons, Tyus & Allen) and one sophomore(Mitchell) making an impact off of the bench. Once again, that '04 team had more experienced reserves.
And how do the two teams stack up through their first meeting of the season against Kentucky?
The '04-'05 Gators had a 14-6 record, including a 69-66 loss against the Wildcats. They were averaging 80 points per game, and had cracked the 100 point mark once up to that point.
The '07-'08 Gators have a 16-3 record, and that includes an 81-70 overtime win against Kentucky. They're averaging 81 points per game, and have scored over the century mark twice this season.
That '04 team finished with a 24-8 record, defeated Kentucky for the SEC title and made it to the second round of the NCAA tourney before being defeated by Villanova.
If this year's team can duplicate that type of success, then they are on the right track to achieving the same level of competitiveness that Horford, Noah and Brewer exhibited on their way to winning back-to-back national championships.