The Florida Gator men’s basketball team is back at it as they take on the Missouri Tigers tonight on the road. It is the first time in program history that Florida will be playing at Mizzou Arena.
The last time these teams squared off was exactly one month ago, and it wasn’t even close. The Tigers premiere player, Phil Pressey, was held in check the entire game. He finished that contest with just two points and 10 turnovers as Missouri fell in the O-Dome 83-52. Florida junior guard Scottie Wilbekin had a great defensive game on Pressey. Despite the work Wilbekin has done on opposing guards the last few months, Florida head coach Billy Donovan knows Pressey elevates his talents when having home court advantage.
Other impact players to look out for in the game include freshman Michael Frazier II. He has shown great poise as the injury to Will Yeguete has pumped extra playing time into his game. Frazier is just one of only three other players in the country to shoot above .500 from the 3-point line while averaging at least 1.5 threes made per game. He’s even better in conference play, averaging 60 percent from beyond the arc. When asked about the rising star’s play, Donovan points to Frazier’s desire to improve as a key element.
As far as 3-pointers are concerned, it has been a staple of Donovan’s game going all the way back to his playing days at Providence. Heading into tonight’s game, Florida has shot an astounding .420 from long range in SEC action. At the same time, Florida is frustrating the other side holding conference foes to just over 30 percent from the arc. Clearly Donovan doesn’t hold his squad back, but also, he wants to make sure the threes they do shoot are good ones.
Once ranked, it’s not all just about Pressey for the Tigers. Mizzou has beaten everyone who has touched their home floor this season. Dating back to last season, no Top 10 team has beaten the Tigers at Mizzou Arena. A lot of that success can be attributed to a potent offense. The first season SEC school is 24th in scoring. The team showcases six different players who score in double digits with redshirt sophomore Jabari Brown leading the way with 14.6 per game. Not far behind is redshirt senior Laurence Bowers with 14.1, while Pressey is consistent with his 12 points and 6.8 assists per game. Keion Bell contributes 11.7 and two others, forward Alex Oriakhi and guard Earnest Ross, contribute over 10 per game. Coach Donovan believes the last two names play a major role for Missouri; at home that is.
Make sure and listen to tonight’s game on Country 103.7 The Gator with our coverage starting at 8:25 p.m.