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Preview: Gators Head to TCU for Big Game Against Horned Frogs

The Gators’ men’s basketball team is in Texas to take on the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday at noon.

What to Expect from the Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs are 14-4, but they only have a 3-3 record in Big 12 play so far. They have lost 3 of their last 5 games. They are at a point where they need to either improve their conference schedule or stack up wins against non-conference opponents. Still, they are a very talented team and are very solid on both sides of the ball.

According to KenPom.com, the Horned Frogs are 33rd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and 21st in adjusted defensive efficiency. They shoot the ball at an efficient rate of 55.1% from inside the arc and 35.5% from the three. Not only are they a good shooting team, they defend the 3 point line very effectively. TCU opponents are shooting just 27.7% from deep this season. Another strength for the Horned Frogs is their ball movement as they average over 18 assists per game.

From Florida’s Point of View

The Gators are in an interesting position at this point in the season. They sit at 11-7 on the season and are just 3-3 in conference play. Florida is seemingly at a point where every game could have a huge impact on the outcome of their season. The Gators are coming off a win against Texas A&M in which they overcame a 13 point halftime deficit behind stellar performances from KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke.

The Gators survived what would have been a terrible loss at this point of the season, and now Mike White and his team will have to focus on building momentum against a quality TCU team. Florida’s defense should be able to limit TCU’s offense to some extent. Whether Coach White decides to use the 1-3-1 zone or stick with man-to-man defense, Florida should be able to effectively close out on shooters.

The defense will try and slow down the Horned Frogs, but much of this game will be decided on the effectiveness of the Gator offense. Florida is coming off a great offensive performance in which they put up 81 points. To pick up a tough win on the road, players like Locke or Allen are going to have to step up and make some tough shots. This game could be decided from the three-point line.

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Players to Watch For

For the Horned Frogs, all eyes will be on Alex Robinson. The 6-1 senior is averaging 13.3 points per game, 7.9 assists and 1.7 steals. He ranks 6th in the nation in assist rate. Robinson is the key cog to the TCU offense. Another player to look out for is Desmond Bane, who is leading the Horned Frogs in scoring with 14.9 points per game and is adding almost 6 rebounds and 3 assists a game as well.

For the Gators, Andrew Nembhard will play a big factor in determining the outcome of this game. Much of Florida’s offense relies on his playmaking abilities, and he has a very tough match-up on both ends of the court. If Nembhard can slow down Alex Robinson a little bit and find ways to create scoring opportunities, the Gators could be in good shape. KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke are players to watch as well. Allen is coming off a 31 point outburst and Locke is coming off a career high 27 points. Let’s see if they can stay hot on the road and extend their winning streak to three.

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