On Saturday afternoon, the 1994 Florida Gator basketball team that made the Final Four will be coming back to Exactech Arena to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The 2019 Gators will be wearing their throwback uniforms as they host the struggling Missouri Tigers.
Coming In Streaking
Florida comes into the contest on a three game winning streak. If they beat the Tigers on Saturday, it would be the second time this season that they have won four games in a row.
The win streak has allowed Florida to get in a better position regarding the NCAA tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has UF as a No. 10 seed.
The Tigers are coming to Gainesville sporting an overall record of 12-13, including 3-10 in the SEC. Saturday will be the only regular season match-up between the two squads.
Although the Gators are playing some of their basketball and are fresh off of their best win of the season, they can’t afford to take the Tigers lightly.
The last time the Gators and Tigers faced off was last year when Chris Chiozza stunned the Missouri crowd. Chiozza stole the ball and scored the go-ahead basket with 0.1 seconds left in regulation. The man who threw the pass that Chiozza stole was Jordan Geist. Fast forward one year and Geist is leading Missouri in points per game with 14.1. He is also contributing 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. The senior has the ability score in bunches as he has scored 23+ points against teams like Kansas State, LSU and Ole Miss.
Make no mistake, Geist will have redemption on his mind against the Gators.
His backcourt partner, Mark Smith, will look to regain his form on Saturday. Smith missed six straight games with an injury, and even though he has played in the past two games, he has struggled mightily. The sophomore is averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
The Tigers rank outside of the top 70 in offensive and defensive efficiency. They don’t have any type of interior presence and struggle to force turnovers. They rank in the bottom 30 in the country in block percentage (5.4%) and steal percentage (6.8%).
On top of this, they average 14.5 turnovers per game, which is the second worst mark in the SEC. This detrimental turnover margin along with their inability to stop dominant big men is why they currently sit in 12th place in the SEC.
How to Watch
Tip-off between Florida and Missouri is set for 4pm. A live telecast can be seen on ESPNU and can be heard on 98.1 FM ESPN Gainesville & 850 AM WRUF.