Florida's Colin Castleton (12) shoots while defended by Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe (34) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Gators Men’s Basketball Faces No. 3 Alabama

The Gator men’s basketball team (13-10) travels to Tuscaloosa to face the No. 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (20-3) in a SEC matchup. The Gators are looking for important wins as the season winds down, fighting for an NCAA tournament bid. The Crimson Tide are in a prime position to be a one-seed when March comes around. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.

Gators Looking For Big-time Victory

Florida is currently projected to be just outside of the bubble to enter the NCAA Tournament. They’ll need a few more SEC wins, including a major win against Alabama, if they want a spot in the tournament. Additionally, the Crimson Tide have one of the best resumes in the nation. So, a win for the Gators would give them huge boost in the rankings if they pull off the upset.

Colin Castleton and Kyle Lofton play a major role in the Gators’ offensive success. Castleton and Lofton have proven to be dynamic on offense, but the defense will be the key in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide have an explosive offense and can score from anywhere on the court.

In the Gators’ recent loss to Kentucky, the team stats were even for both squads. Florida shot the ball above average and maintained solid rebounding numbers on both sides of the ball. Though, the biggest issue was the lack of points from players coming off the bench. A complete team effort will be required to get the win. Head coach Todd Golden spoke about the lack of defensive effort against the Wildcats. However, he praised how hard the Gators fought to close out the game.

Alabama Looks To Remain Atop the SEC

The Crimson Tide are having one of their best seasons in recent memory. They’re undefeated in SEC play and hold a one-seed in the NCAA tournament. Alabama’s catalyst this season has been arguably the best freshman in the country, Brandon Miller. Miller is averaging 18 points a game and is shooting 44% from 3-point range and ESPN has him ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the upcoming NBA draft.

Moreover, Alabama leads Florida in overall offensive and defensive rankings. If they play as they have against conference opponents this season, they may cruise to a victory quickly. They are extremely gifted on both ends, making them a nightmare to matchup with.

Alabama Basketball analyst Bryan Passink joined Sport Scene to discuss the Crimson Tide’s physicality on the defensive end.

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