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Florida sets up on defense against Marshall.
(Credit @GatorsMBK on Twitter)

Game Preview: Gators Men’s Basketball Travels to Butler

The Florida Gators Men’s Basketball team seeks to regain their spot in the Associated Press Top 25 on Saturday against No. 24 Butler.

The Gators stand at 6-2 after a close win against Marshall on Nov. 29, while the Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game 8-0.

Despite the win, the Gators dropped out of the top-25 after struggling to put away the Thundering Herd. Butler took Florida’s place in the rankings at 24.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Going into Saturday’s game, Florida head coach Mike White has stated his frustrations with how his team has practiced. According to him, the team has been in a bit of a funk ever since they returned from Charleston.

According to White, he’s not concerned about the distractions around the team. Earlier this season, White said, he addressed the team about outside distractions and large expectations of the team headed into this season.

White says that his team has taken a step back, in addition to a step forward. He’s continuing to look for leadership from his freshmen as well.

One player for Florida looking to take a step forward is freshman guard Tre Mann. On Nov. 17 against Connecticut, Mann sustained a concussion, which has since given rise to the success of Ques Glover. Since his concussion, Mann has scored 5 points and played 18 minutes in two games.

According to sophomore guard Noah Locke, he’s been looking out for Mann through his struggles so far this season.

It is unclear how much Mann will play on Saturday against Butler. White seems to be weaning him back into the rotation, being conservative with minutes as Mann tries to recover.

With the surging play of Ques Glover in the last few games, one can expect Coach White to look at rotations that feature both Glover and Mann working the backcourt.

What to expect

Butler’s leading scorer this season is senior guard Kamar Baldwin. He is averaging 17.5 points per game off of 50.9% shooting and 41.9% from three. Baldwin also dropped 31 points in a win against Ole Miss on Dec. 3.

Florida’s defense from their guards is a key factor in Saturday’s matchup. If Coach White’s team cannot contain Baldwin, they could be in for a long game.

The Gators will need to get in rhythm fast, as the Bulldogs play strong defense. Butler ranks 8th in the country in opponent’s points per game with only 55.5 points. The Gators have had success this season with scoring in transition, so look for that paired with strong half-court defense in the 1-3-1 zone.

Coverage

Tip-off for Saturday’s game is at noon on FOX.

For live coverage from ESPN WRUF, follow @ESPNGainesville on Twitter

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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