The Gators men’s basketball team is back in action in the SEC tonight as they host the Ole Miss Rebels. Florida is 7-0 in league play while Ole Miss comes in with only one league loss.
Florida is also trying to stay undefeated at home but the Rebels could pose a serious threat. Gators coach Billy Donovan has watched tape of his opponent and knows exactly where the Rebels’ strength lies.
Individually, Ole Miss boasts one of the best all around players in the SEC. For that matter, they boast one of the best in the country. Junior guard Marshall Henderson is the 22nd highest scorer in the NCAA, averaging 19.3 points per game.
But Florida has done well defensively this season, led by guard Scottie Wilbekin; his defense and assists have been through the roof as he usually guards the opponent’s best guard. The reigning SEC Player of the Week shut down Texas A&M’s Elston Turner two weeks ago, holding him to just four points. The following week Wilbekin was all over Missouri’s Phil Pressey, holding him to just two points. Look for Wilbekin to yet again show off his smothering defense as he will spend most of the night on Henderson. The new “Honey Badger” already knows what to expect from Henderson.
Henderson gets all the hype, but Donovan is aware of the Rebel talent across the board.
Regardless of who Florida plays, these last few weeks have been dominating for Billy’s boys. Heading into the Saturday night showdown, Florida is beating SEC opponents by over 28 points per outing. Also just as surprising, Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy and freshman Michael Frazier II are all shooting 50 percent or better from beyond the arc in the last two games.
The team is shooting under 70 percent from the free throw line for the season. Most notably, the leader in free throws attempted in the SEC, Patric Young, is only making half his trys. Teammate Will Yeguete’s .574 mark isn’t much better. Coach Donovan understands the struggles of the two, but makes it clear they practice free throws religiously.
The Gators will need points from the line with Ole Miss averaging six more points a game than Florida.
To learn more about the matchup, and hear the entire game, listen to ESPN Radio 850/900 starting with the pregame show on Saturday night at 6:25pm.