Saturday afternoon, the seventh ranked Florida men’s basketball team tries to stay on top of the SEC when it travels to take on the reeling Auburn Tigers.
Entering Saturday’s contest, the tale of the tape highlights a massive disparity in talent and success this season. The Tigers (9-15, 3-8 SEC) have lost seven of their last eight games, having not won back to back games since the beginning of January.
Florida (20-3, 10-1 SEC) has not lost back to back games during the 2012-2013 campaign and touts a spotless SEC record with the exception of an 80-69 loss to Arkansas. Coming off the disappointing loss, the Gators manhandled Mississippi State and controlled the Kentucky Wildcats from start to finish, notching a 69-52 victory on Tuesday evening.
Defense has been the strong point of the Gators in conference play. A total of 17 teams have been held to under 60 points, ranking Florida fourth in the country in scoring defense with 52.7 points allowed per game.
Efficiency on offense compliments the Gators’ stalwart defense. Shooting .500 or better from the field in nine of their last 13 games, the Gators sit seventh in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting over 49 percent from the field. UF trails only Indiana in scoring margin, beating opponents by an average of 21.3 points.
Despite the team’s blistering pace, Gator coach Billy Donovan expects a challenge from a hungry Auburn team seeking its first win against a ranked opponent.
Guard Kenny Boynton leads the Gators squad in scoring at 12.9 points per game, sinking 21 of 44 shots behind the arc over the past six road games.
Will Yeguete is recovering from injury and will miss a third straight game. Casey Prather should get more playing time because of the injury and he has scored 12 points in each of the last two games off the bench at forward.
Senior guard Frankie Sullivan leads the Tigers in points per game with 15.5, sharing the role of leader with junior Chris Denson, who averages 12.2 points per game but he’s only played in 13 games due to injury and academic suspension. 6’10” 250 pound forward Rob Chubb will match up with Patric Young in the paint, as he leads Auburn in rebounding with 7.3 per contest.
Florida’s Erik Murphy says the team needs to focus on containing Chubb.
Auburn leads the all-time series 87-72, but the Gators are 17-4 against the Tigers under the tenure of head coach Billy Donovan.
Coverage of the game begins at 1:10pm on ESPN Radio 850/900 and continues through tipoff at 1:30.