After their first conference loss of the season at Arkansas last week, the men’s basketball team returns to the O’Connell Center tonight to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Gators hold a 59-49 lead in the overall series against MSU including a 12-8 record under head coach Billy Donovan. In Gainesville, UF is 6-2 under Donovan playing the Bulldogs and hold a 36-12 all-time record at home. Senior guard Mike Rosario talked about how this team needs to be ready for whatever comes their way.
Despite the defensive blunder against the Razorbacks, the Gators can still boast about how well they shut opponents down throughout the season. They have held three teams to under 40 points, 11 under 50 and 15 under 60; ranking them fourth in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 52 points per game.
However, what’s going to challenge this dominance is the loss of junior forward Will Yeguete for the remainder of the regular season due to undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Head coach Billy Donovan explained the severity of Yeguete's situation.
Florida has also been effective offensively as well, shooting 50 percent or higher from the floor in eight of their last 11 games. They’re also averaging 74 points per game in SEC match ups which happens to be second best in the league. Senior guard Kenny Boynton leads the team in scoring with 13 points per game followed by senior forward Erik Murphy with 12 points on 55 percent shooting from the floor and 48 percent from the three point line.
For MSU, on the season they have a 7-14 record, 2-7 in the SEC and have lost their last seven games. Coming off the bench, freshman guard Fred Thomas leads the Bulldogs in scoring with ten points a game, while freshman forward Gavin Ware leads the team in rebounding with six a game.
Mississippi State is shooting 40 percent from the field and 28 percent from three, ranking them second to last and last respectively in the conference. Florida freshman guard Michael Frazier II spoke about the team’s mentality going into Saturday’s game.
Be sure to catch all the live coverage of the game right here on ESPN Radio 850/900 starting at 4:25 p.m this afternoon.