* Bowers is injured and will not play Saturday.
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST
|No. 9/10 FLORIDA GATORS||No. 16/17 MISSOURI TIGERS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Frank Haith|
|Record: 13-2 (3-0 SEC)||Record: 13-3 (2-1 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
WIN NO. 400 ON THE LINE FOR BILLY D
Last season, his 18th as a head coach on the collegiate level, Donovan eclipsed 400 career wins. Now in his 17th season leading the Florida basketball program, Donovan has the opportunity to register his 400th career win as head coach of the Gators.
He enters Saturday afternoon’s game with a 399-160 (.714) record at Florida to go along with two national titles, three Final Four appearances, three SEC Tournament titles and four SEC regular season championships.
Since being hired by the Gators in 1996, Donovan has also won ESPN National Coach of the Year in 2001, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award in 2006, the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2010 and his only SEC Coach of the Year honor in 2011. A Hall of Fame nomination is not far off.
Donovan has also seen 13 former Florida players be selected in the NBA Draft and six former Gators assistants receive head coaching jobs of their own across the country.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida and Missouri haven ever met in men’s basketball.
» Four of UF’s regular starters are averaging double figures.
» The Gators have held eight of their first 15 opponents under 50 points.
» UF is 38-3 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (13-2 in 2012-13).
» Florida was just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» The Gators are second nationally in scoring margin (+21.6), third in scoring defense (52.0), eighth in field goal percentage defense (.365) and 14th in rebound margin (+8.8).
» Florida is also 11th nationally in fouling, committing 14.3 per game, and 92nd nationally in assists, dishing just 14.4 per game.
» Missouri is ranked first nationally in rebounding (44.7) and fourth in margin (+10.9).
Read the rest of the Florida-Missouri preview with much more after the break!
WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH
With Kentucky experiencing a downturn and Ole Miss unlikely to continue its hot start, Florida and Missouri are jockeying for position atop the SEC this season. The Gators are 1-1 against top-25 opponents during this campaign and are looking to make a statement by picking up a huge victory against the Tigers, which are the only other ranked team in the SEC. Florida will also be trying to earn Donovan a much-deserved 400th career victory in front of a sold out crowd in the O’Dome on a nationally televised game. With Missouri already having incurred a league loss, UF could take a solid two-game lead on their new SEC East rivals.
» Junior center Patric Young (#4) has been up-and-down all season long but broke out in a big way on Thursday against Texas A&M, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting while going 4-for-5 from the free throw line and registering a game-high seven rebounds along with three steals and a block. The Gators will be counting on Young, who has registered four double-doubles this season, to be a force in the paint as they go up against the top rebounding team in college basketball (43.8 per game).
Aside from an early loss to Louisville, the Tigers rolled through most of their non-conference schedule. Then Missouri suffered a devastating overtime loss at UCLA before dropping a second contest in their last five games against Ole Miss on Jan. 12. The Tigers fell out of the top 10 and are hoping to boost themselves back onto the national stage with a win over what is widely agreed to be the best team in the SEC. Missouri has a chance to host Florida in exactly one month on Feb. 19 and certainly wants to give its new divisional rivals something to think about.
» Senior forward Laurence Bowers (#21) is the most important player on the court for the Tigers. He leads the team in scoring average (16.8 points), rebounding (6.9) and three-point shooting (52.0 percent) and also hits 58.1 percent of his shots from the field as well as 68.8 percent from the charity stripe. Unfortunately for Missouri, Bowers sprained his MCL and has been listed as out for Saturday’s game. Unfortunately for OGGOA, this preview was created before Haith announced Bowers’s absence.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior guard Kenny Boynton is in his fourth year as a starter for the Gators. He is quickly making his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists and is already first in school history in three-point field goals made (295) and attempted (855). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,787) and three-pointers among active players.
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
2. Andrew Moten – 1,930 points
3. Kenny Boynton – 1,787 points
1. Erving Walker – 4,358
2. Eugene McDowell – 4,100
3. Kenny Boynton – 3,980
1. Andrew DeClerq – 128
3. Andrew Moten – 124
4. Kenny Boynton – 120
Field goal attempts
1. Stacey Poole – 1,578
2. Andrew Moten – 1,572
3. Kenny Boynton – 1,455
Field goals made
1. Ronnie Williams – 772
7. Udonis Haslem – 633
8. Kenny Boynton – 582
Boynton is also approaching the top 10 in games played (seven away), free throws made (23 away) and assists (34 away).