No. 17 Florida vs. Tennessee Gameday Preview

By Adam Silverstein
February 12, 2011

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 6:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
First Half Live Updates: @OnlyGators
Second Half Periodic Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 17 FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Pearl
Record: 19-5 (8-2) Record: 15-9 (5-4)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5.5; O/U 133

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 69-50 and has won 10 out of the last 14 in the series; however, the Gators have defeated the Volunteers in the teams’ last two meetings including an 81-75 overtime victory on Jan. 12.
» Donovan is now 14-16 all-time against UT and 9-5 when facing them in the O’Dome. Conversely, Pearl is 8-3 all-time against UF and 3-2 in the House of Horrors.
» Florida has won 14 of their last 17 games with 10 victories against RPI top 100 teams. The Gators are 11-3 at home this season, which includes a 4-1 record in SEC play.
» UF is 5-1 against the SEC East this season after finishing 3-7 in the division last year.
» The Gators earned back-to-back victories against ranked opponents for the first time since 2007 after defeating then-No. 24 Vanderbilt and then-No. 11 Kentucky last week.
» Florida improved to 16-1 when holding opponents under 70 points this season after limiting South Carolina to 60 points on Wednesday.
» UF is 11-0 when forcing more turnovers than their opponents.
» The Gators are 8-1 this year when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10 or more shots from the field. Parsons has registered three consecutive double-doubles.
» Donovan won his 350th game in the orange and blue on Wednesday.
» Florida enters Saturday’s game with 19 wins, just one shy of reaching 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season. The Gators hold the longest active streak in the SEC.
» Florida and Tennessee best each other in a pair of the four major statistical categories. The Gators hold advantages in assists per game 14.1-13.8 (101st-125th) and field goal percentage .457-.434 (88th-188th), while the Volunteers score more points per game 72.0-71.4 (103rd-114th) and grab more rebounds 39.2-38.5 (22nd-33rd). UF ranks 13th in RPI (.6375) and sixth in strength of schedule nationally compared to their opponent being 23rd (.6120) and 1st, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT…

Florida and Tennessee will square off for the second time this season; the Gators defeated the Volunteers in a 81-75 overtime thriller in Knoxville, TN on Jan. 12. In the contest, Florida saw all five starters score in double figures and the team held off numerous rallies by Tennessee to eventually prevail.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Parsons…who is back to averaging double-digit points (11.1) while leading the Gators with 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Parsons ranks No. 1 among active SEC players in rebounds (765), No. 3 in points (1,311) and No. 4 in assists (292) and steals (118). He has notched three-straight double-doubles and now has six this season alone.
» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.7 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.427) and three-point percentage (.389). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (60) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 58.4 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 35.8 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.0 points per game and makes a team-high 83.3 percent of his free throws.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat last Tuesday against Vanderbilt.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5:1), while Young averages 3.4 points and 3.3 boards off the bench.
» Tennessee G Scotty Hopson…who leads his team in scoring with 16.2 points per game and shoots a team-best 38.1 percent from downtown. Hopson has had four 20-point games this season with, with one coming in his last game against Florida.
» Volunteers F Tobias Harris…who averages 14.6 points while grabbing 7.5 boards each game. Harris, along with Hopson, averages a team-high 28.6 minutes per contest.

10 Comments

  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Let’s get the sweep guys!

  2. Ken says:

    wow! nightmare flashed between my eyes with Tyus’ 2 missed free throws, looked like deja vu all over again! way to pull it out guys!

  3. TonyM1449 says:

    Way to go Gators! Way to fight! And way to finish!

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Hung on and thank God they took the wrong shot at the end – if Billy’s strategy was to NOT give Pearl a chance to draw up a play, then it worked….

    • Ken says:

      Wilbekin did an incredible job on Hopson, and locked him down on the final play so he couldn’t get the ball!

  5. FISH-GATOR-59 says:

    Wow, not sure how we won that game. Erving killed it at the end, plus the team played well after Parsons went “down”.

    Go Gators…

  6. Basshole says:

    Big win! We didn’t play great but they fought and held on even when they didn’t have their A game. Way to grit out a win…

  7. John S says:

    Beating UT warms my heart, watching Pearl’s head nearly explode is so satisfying. That Williams kid fouls everytime the ball comes into the paint, and still throws a WTF at the ref every time he blows the whistle.

    Great job Gators. I’m really impressed by this team.

  8. Gatorbuc15 says:

    What an incredible game! That shot by Walker was unbelievably clutch!
    These guys just continue to pull tough games out and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. 🙂

  9. Intuition says:

    Wilbekin is such a rock for a freshman. Love having a stopper come off the bench. Dude is like glue.

    Walker can be so clutch. His FTs tonight were huge on a night that Parsons was too hurt to be himself.

    Macklin has GOT to stay out of foul trouble for this team to make noise, IMO. Let’s get Chandler healthy and make a run for the SEC title boys!

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