Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (ET)
|FLORIDA GATORS||OLE MISS REBELS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Andy Kennedy|
|Record: 11-3 (0-0)||Record: 12-3 (0-0)|
|Division: SEC East||Division: SEC West|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -9
HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida leads the all-time series against Ole Miss 58-42, is 8-1 in the last nine meetings, 5-0 in the last five games played in Gainesville (+19 points per game), and 11-6 all-time under Donovan.
» The Gators were a perfect 6-0 against the SEC West last year and are 50-16 against the division since 2000 including 29-4 at the O’Dome.
» Florida’s defense has significantly improved over the last nine games. They are holding opponents to just 59.4 points per game and have only allowed two teams to reach 70 points this season. After failing to score at least 70 points in seven-straight games, the Gators have surpassed that total in their last two contests (71, 84).
» UF has out-rebounded 13 of 14 opponents this season – including in its three defeats – and is doing so by a +8.5 rebound per game advantage.
» The Gators and Rebels each best each other in two of four major statistically categories nationally. Florida holds advantages in rebounds 61st-71st (38.5-38.2) and assists 99th-116th (14.4-14.1), while Ole Miss scores more points 38th-163rd (78.1-70.3) and field goal percentage 40th-60th (.475-.466). However, the Gators rank 14th in RPI (.6356) and 8th in strength of schedule (.6130) compared to the Rebels being 62nd (.5749) and 128th (.5126).
KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who is leading his team in scoring and assists with 13.9 points and 3.1 dishes per game. He has accounted for 32 of Florida’s 77 treys.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-high 57.3 percent this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds a game while being a major presence for the Gators.
» Senior forward Chandler Parsons…who is averaging 9.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game after posting his best performance of the season against Rhode Island. Parsons scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, was 3-for-4 from downtown and added 12 boards.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably Florida’s most talented player but has been marred in a slump all season. Boynton is only shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from beyond the arc. He is second on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game and hits 73.7 percent of his free throws.
» Ole Miss G Chris Warren…who leads his team with 18.5 points and 4.3 assists in an average of 33.7 minutes per game (five more than the next closest player). Warren a fantastic 94.1 percent from the charity stripe and is clutch in end-of-game situations.
» Rebels G Zach Graham…whose 14.1 points per game and 28.6 minutes per game are second on Ole Miss. Graham also averages 4.4 rebounds and a steal per game.
EVALUATING THE GATORS BEFORE SEC COMPETITION
By Malik Grady – OGGOA Correspondent
Florida’s game against then-No. 6 Kansas State on Dec. 18 was supposed to be a litmus test. How the team performed would cue outsiders whether or not UF should be taken seriously going forward. The double-digit come-from-behind-win over KSU, coupled with a subsequent overtime loss to Jacksonville, managed only to solidify Donovan’s team as a collection of contradictions that even the coach himself had to figure out.
The particular oxymoron that is the 2010-11 Gators manage to simultaneously be stellar in key areas and abysmal in others. This undoubtedly makes them, at times, frustrating to watch but also places them on track to make the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The following statistics are where UF ranks in national averages out of 345 schools playing Division I college basketball.
Read the rest of Malik’s column…after the break!
No. 6 in offensive rebound rate (42.8 percent).
No. 4 in defensive free throw rate (not fouling opponents – 23.6 percent).
No. 34 in offensive efficiency per 100 possessions (112.6 points).
No. 38 in defensive efficiency per 100 possessions (90.3 points).
No. 47 in two-point field goal percentage (52.3 percent).
No. 77 in effective field goal percentage (51.6 percent).
No. 68 in effective opponents’ field goal percentage (45.8 percent).
No. 74 in opponents’ three-point field goal percentage allowed (31.2 percent).
No. 77 in blocks per game (7.6).
No. 195 in three-point field goal percentage (33.3 percent).
No. 196 free throw attempts per field goal attempts (36.9).
No. 236 in turnovers per game (22.1).
No. 256 in free throw percentage (65.6 percent).
Many of these stats help explain both the Gators’ biggest wins this year as well as some of their greatest struggles.
In UF’s home loss against then-No. 5 Ohio State, the Gators matched OSU’s shooting and handily outrebounded them. In part because Florida also had 10 more turnovers and 11 less assists, Ohio State racked up 13 more field goal attempts (including seven more three-point chances). The Gators had 10 turnovers alone in the last 10 minutes of the game, which turned a close five-point game into an 18-point blowout.
On the road against Florida State, Florida outrebounded FSU by six while remaining close everywhere else, including shooting just a bit better, and were able to deny a late rally in a victory. Facing Central Florida in Orlando, UF had double the amount of turnovers as their opponent. Despite outrebounding the Knights by seven, they had to stomach a tough three-point loss.
Both the Kansas State and Jacksonville games came down to field goal percentage. The Gators were able to hold the Wildcats to 27.3 percent shooting while connecting at nearly double that rate. Florida held on to win comfortably even though they turned the ball over twice as much. Against JU, however, a 12-rebound advantage for UF did not cancel out shooting a full 10 percentage points less in an overtime loss.
Florida held off Xavier before a hostile crowd by winning three out of four of the key statistics. However, they once again doubled their opponents’ turnovers, which resulted in them only winning by four.
In perhaps UF’s most impressive win, the Gators were superior in all four categories with double digit advantages in both rebounding and field goal percentage.
At the halfway point to this season, it is no longer a mystery what this Florida team is, although the “how” and “why” they do certain things so will continue to alternately frustrate, puzzle and dazzle fans. Rebounding the ball should prove especially valuable during the conference schedule, and if the Gators can at least match their opponents in turnovers the rest of the way, they should at least be close to victory in every contest.