Florida had an opportunity to upset the Tennessee Volunteers (21-1/9-0 SEC) a couple of weeks ago but fell apart in the final few minutes of action.
The Gators (12-10/4-5 SEC) will have another opportunity on Saturday afternoon as they will face the top ranked Volunteers. It is the first time ever that Florida faces Tennessee as the No. 1 team in the country. It has been a while since the Gators have knocked off a top ranked team. The last time came in 2007 against No. 1 Ohio State in the national championship.
Gators Hoping Offense Shows Up In Round Two
It was the struggling Florida offense that allowed the Volunteers to survive the first game in Gainesville.
The Gators shot 35% from the field and an even worse 28% in the 2nd half. Look for KeVaughn Allen to be more assertive on the offensive end as he only took nine shots in their last matchup. All season long Florida has relied on their freshmen Noah Locke and Andrew Nembhard. Saturday won’t be any different as UF needs all hands on deck when it comes to offense.
Nembhard will be looking to have a better performance this time around as the Canadian struggled mightily against the Vols at home. The point guard shot 1-for-10 from the field and turned the ball over three times. Locke played extremely well, scoring 16 points, which was the 2nd highest point total behind Allen with 18. It is safe to say that playing on the road in an electric Rocky Top will be the biggest challenge this struggling offense will face all season. The Gators won’t be able to stop Tennessee’s 21 game home winning streak unless they find a way to score consistently and avoid their typical long scoring droughts.
It will take a team effort on the glass for UF to keep the game within reach. In the first match-up, Florida was out-rebounded 36 to 28 and that was with Keith Stone, who is now out with a torn ACL. Guys like Kevarrius Hayes, Dontay Bassett and Keyontae Johnson will have their hands full making sure Tennessee doesn’t feast on the boards.
Drag This Game Into The Mud
It is well known that it is not in the Gators’ best interest to try to get into a shoot out with Tennessee.
Florida held the dynamic Volunteers offense to 78 points, which was below their season average of 86 points per game (6th best in the nation).
Junior forward Grant Williams enjoyed success last time out against Florida as he scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Williams is the favorite to win SEC Player of the Year, which would be the second straight year he would win the award. The Gators biggest achievement defensively was holding senior Admiral Schofield to 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Schofield is averaging 16 points a game. The 6’6 forward was recently nominated for the Julius Erving Award, which is given to the best forward in the nation.
Top small forward in the country? Sure, the Admiral ⚓️ will take a stab at it. #ErvingAward
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) February 6, 2019
If the UF defense sticks to what worked in January, they will give themselves a chance to win.
How To Watch
Tip-off in Knoxville is set for 4 p.m.
The Gators and Vols once again get the national spotlight as the game can be seen on ESPN. A live radio broadcast is available on 98.1 FM ESPN Gainesville & 850 AM WRUF.