The Gators men’s basketball team looks to bounce back in a big way against Mississippi State Tuesday night.
Florida missed an opportunity to pick up an important win against top-ranked Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 26. The loss dropped Mike White’s squad to a 12-7 record, and 2-2 against ranked opponents this season.
The Gators under Coach White are 3-1 against Mississippi State but lost their last meeting in Starkville. Florida has not lost to the Bulldogs at home since 2008.
Mississippi State lost to Oklahoma on Jan. 25 by one point. The Bulldogs have won three of their last five including three SEC wins. Their last two losses have come by a total of two points.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 27, 2020
Florida and Mississippi State both average around the same in points scored and points allowed per game. The Gators score 73.3 and give up 66.6 points per game, while the Bulldogs score 72.7 points per game and allow 64.8 points per game.
Much like the Gators, Mississippi State has four players with scoring averages in the double-digits. One of those players is the hometown kid, Tyson Carter. A senior guard from Starkville, Mississippi, he has increased his scoring average in each of his four seasons at Mississippi State and is one of the leaders on a deep Bulldogs roster.
Florida’s Noah Locke has been a key reason why the Gators are averaging 80.3 points per game in the SEC, good for second in the conference. Against Baylor, Locke broke his streak of 15 consecutive games with multiple three-point makes. Regardless, Coach White likes what he’s seen from Locke of late.
Mississippi State has a Kerry Blackshear Jr.-like player in Reggie Perry, who averages 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. A 2018-2019 SEC All-Freshman, Perry has nearly scored as many points this season as he had all of last season and has almost doubled his scoring average from 2018.
According to Coach White, Perry is an absolute beast.
“Monster,” White said. “Reggie Perry one of the most improved players in the country; one of the best players in the country. Just a specimen on the glass offensively and defensively on the glass.”
According to Coach White, Mississippi is a better offensive rebounding team than Baylor was. Florida’s Keyontae Johnson says that his team needs to improve on the boards.
Many people have chalked up Florida’s all-around issues this season to being a young team. Coach White does not buy into any of that.
Tip-off of the Gators men’s basketball game on Jan. 28 is at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Coverage on ESPN 98.1 FM 850 AM WRUF starts at 6:25 p.m.