Top 20 Basketball Showdown: Kansas at Florida

The 19th-ranked Florida Gators men’s basketball team (6-2) will host the 13th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (6-2) at home Tuesday evening in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The two teams have met on the court four times. Florida enters the matchup holding a 1-3 record in the series, including a 1-1 record under head coach Billy Donovan.

Both teams enter the game off of road losses. Both losses were buzzer-beaters with Florida falling at No. 12 UConn last Monday and Kansas losing at Colorado on Saturday.
Kansas started its season strong, but has had a rocky two weeks, falling to No. 13 in the AP Top 25. The Jayhawks lost to Villanova in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on November 29 and then fell to former Big 12 rival Colorado last Saturday.

The Gators will face a young Kansas team led by possible NBA top draft choice Andrew Wiggins who is averaging 15.3 points per game. In Saturday’s buzzer-beater loss against Colorado, Wiggins finished with a game-high 22 points.

He may also guard the Gators’ leading scorer, Casey Prather, who is leading Florida with 19.1 points per game. Prather’s career best 28 points came against the University of North Florida , and the senior has two outings of 27-points as well.

Kansas also features a local product in their lineup in freshman Joel Embiid who played one year at The Rock School in Gainesville.   He plays about 19 minutes a contest for the Jayhawks.

The game is considered to be the biggest match up of the year for Florida and possibly the biggest game ever played in the O’Connell Center.

The competition is especially important to the Gators and their head coach Billy Donovan, with a third loss looming by December 10 for the first time since Donovan’s first season at Florida (1996-97).

Two of Florida’s top guards will return from ankle injuries for Tuesday evening’s game. Freshman Kasey Hill will return after going down with a high ankle sprain in the Southern University game on November 18, and senior play-maker Scottie Wilbekin returns after sustaining an inury in the final three minutes of last Monday’s one-point loss against UConn.

Florida’s sharpshooting sophomore Michael Frazier II is averaging 13.5 points per game, and earned his first career 20-point game in UF’s loss at Wisconsin. Frazier is hitting at an SEC-best .523 clip from long range (23-for-44), including three games with five 3-pointers.

The No. 19 Gators are in the midst of a 20 game winning-streak on their home court. Tip off is set for 7pm. You can tune into Country 103-7 The Gator for live coverage beginning at 6:25pm.


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