FLORIDA GATORS (21-3)
at MISSOURI TIGERS (18-7)
Mizzou Arena – Columbia, MO
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -5, Total: 138.5
In search of a marquee SEC win, Missouri will host No. 5 Florida Tuesday night looking to rebound after a two-point loss to Arkansas on Saturday.
Florida brings one of the nation’s most efficient offenses to the table, hitting 49.7% FG (sixth in D-I) with 16.3 APG (13th in nation). But the Tigers can also put the ball in the hoop, posting 76.5 PPG, good for 21st in the country. More impressively, Frank Haith’s squad is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation with 42.2 RPG (second in D-I). The last time the Tigers were outrebounded in SEC play was Jan. 19 against the Gators, who beat them on the boards by 10 en route to a 83-52 blowout win.
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Four double-digit scorers led the Gators to victory against the Tigers earlier in the year, though one of those players, 6-foot-7 F Will Yeguete (6.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG) remains out after missing the team’s past three games with a knee injury. PF Erik Murphy (12.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG) led the way that night with 15 points, knocking home 3-of-5 three-pointers. He’s hitting 2.3 threes per game on a 50.0% clip this season, and with his 6-foot-10 size is difficult to guard with the way he can stretch the floor. C Patric Young (10.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG) complements Murphy nicely as a strong and physical presence in the paint. Young grabbed a game-high eight rebounds in the meeting against Missouri while limiting Tigers PF Alex Oriakhi to just two rebounds. SG Kenny Boynton (13.0 PPG, 3.3 APG) scored 14 against Missouri and is Florida’s leading scorer. He turns it over only 1.3 times per game. SG Mike Rosario (12.9 PPG), coming off a 22-point performance against Auburn, has now made it into double-figures in six consecutive games. PG Scottie Wilbekin (9.4 PPG, 5.5 APG) rounds out the deep offense and had the team’s best game against Missouri, scoring 13 points and dishing out 10 assists. He dropped 10 assists again this weekend against Auburn, something he has now done three times this season.
PG Phil Pressey (12.0 PPG, 6.8 APG) had his ugliest game of the year against Florida, scoring just two points on 1-for-7 shooting while racking up 10 turnovers. With 3.7 TO per game, mistakes have been a problem all season for Pressey, who in his past two games has scored just 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting while coughing it up eight times. Six-foot-5 swingman Jabari Brown (14.6 PPG) scored a game-high 16 points against the Gators but did so on 5-for-18 shooting with four turnovers. On the season, he’s hitting 2.6 threes per game. Fellow transfer Keion Bell (11.7 PPG) has been Haith’s hot hand lately with three consecutive 20-point efforts, doing so on 27-for-39 shooting (69.2%). Also on the wing, Earnest Ross (10.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG) is probable for action despite battling an ankle injury. Where this team needs to improve most desperately from the first meeting is on the boards, and that falls first on PF Alex Oriakhi (10.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG) who paces the team in that department. He’s been strong on the glass lately with three straight double-digit rebound efforts, pulling down 13.0 RPG in this span. PF Laurence Bowers (14.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG) will have to step it up though. The senior forward is coming off a two-point, 1-for-10 performance and is averaging just 3.8 RPG in six games since coming back from a knee injury. This stretch included missing that Jan. 19 debacle in Gainesville.