Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
|(10) FLORIDA GATORS||ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Mike Anderson|
|Record: 12-2 (1-0 SEC)||Record: 11-3 (0-1 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida +2.5 | O/U 141
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida lead the all-time series against Arkansas 16-11 (16-6 under Donovan) but is just 4-8 on the road against Arkansas (4-5 under Donovan).
» The Gators are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Razorbacks but got routed 80-69 in Fayetteville in their last meeting on Feb. 5, 2013.
» UF is on a six-game winning streak and has been victorious in 11 of its last 12 games.
» UA had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday with a surprising 69-53 loss on the road at Texas A&M.
» Arkansas has won 25-straight home games, the second-longest streak in the nation.
» Florida is 65-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators are 5-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign.
» Florida defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» The Gators are 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» UF is 1-2 in true road games this season.
INJURIES PILE UP – AGAIN
Following up on Thursday’s announcement that senior forward Casey Prather had joined senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) as a non-participant in practice after Prather’s knee swelled up in the morning after Wednesday night’s game, Donovan provided additional details on the ailments facing his team.
Regarding Prather, Donovan explained that a Thursday MRI revealed a bone bruise with fluid built up in the joint. He ruled Prather out of Saturday’s game, the first contest that Florida’s leading scorer – who has averaged double-digit points in all 14 games – will miss this season.
“Took place last game, he’s had some swelling. We actually thought it maybe have been some cartilage tear with the way his knee was swollen. He had an MRI [Thursday] night. Cartilage tear, knee structure, that stuff’s all fine, but he’s out [Saturday],” Donovan said.
Wilbekin’s sprained ankle, as reported by OnlyGators.com both on Tuesday and Wednesday, is moderate. Though he missed practice both Thursday and Friday, he was held out of action on Friday for precautionary reasons. Donvovan kept his status at “questionable” for Saturday but noted Wilbekin will “probably give it some kind of try.”
Because Wilbekin has missed two practices, he will not start the game. Freshman PG Kasey Hill will take his place with redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith the most likely replacement for Prather in the starting five.
“That’s fine, [Hill has] started before when Scottie was out for the first six games,” said Donovan. “We’re going to go with whatever lineup it is, like the lineup we used the most [Friday] in practice was Kasey Hill, DeVon Walker, Jacob Kurtz, Dorian Finney-Smith and Will [Yeguete]. Whether or not we start that way, we’ll see how some of these guys are doing health-wise.”
Two other Gators are also dealing with injuries but both should suit up on Saturday. Senior center Patric Young missed practice Friday with knee tendonitis, an ailment that has bothered him for years, but remains cleared to play. Young could also come off the bench with Kurtz potentially replacing him in the starting lineup.
Sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, Florida’s
only leading three-point shooter, has also been dealing with calf problems as of late but will also be a go on Saturday. Like Prather, Wilbekin and Young, he missed a large portion of practice on Friday.
“He got kneed in his calf or something in the game, so he’s having some calf difficulties, but I don’t think he’s going to be a problem,” Donovan said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On how Hill has been playing: “I think he’s progressing; he’s getting better. I think every game that goes by he probably gains some new valuable learning experiences from the past game. But I’ve got confidence in Kasey and think Kasey is going to continue to improve and get better.”
» On playing in Fayetteville: “They obviously have great fan support. There’s lot of enthusiasm there. … It’s one of those arenas that’s … well lit; it’s a good environment, just a good place to play. Obviously, I think even though they’ve had such a longstanding home winning streak here, you know the last couple years I think traditionally it’s always been a hard place to win at, a very difficult place to play in.”
» On the Razorbacks: “They do a really, really good job defensively creating a ton of forced turnovers. I think it’s going to be an up-tempo, up-and-down game. I think both teams are going to run, but you know, because of their depth of playing 11 guys double figure minutes it’s kind of like they can see who’s playing well together and maybe make some adjustments. … “They’ve got four almost five guys averaging double figures, but they’ve got the kind of team that someone who’s not averaging double figures could have 15, 16, 18. They’ve got that kind of ability.”
OnlyGators.com contributor Mike Brandes assisted with this post.