Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Gameday Preview

By Adam Silverstein
February 28, 2012

Location: Memorial Gym – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 14,316]
Time: 9:00 p.m. (ET)

Pre-game chat: OGGOA
TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(13) FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record: 22-7 (10-4) Record: 20-9 (9-5)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3.5; O/U 139.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Vanderbilt leads the all-time series against Florida 63-60, but the Gators are 22-11 against the Commodores under Donovan and have won four-straight games including three in 2011. VU is also 8-7 against UF at home since Donovan.
» All five of Florida’s normal starters are averaging at least 9.9 points per game.
» The Gators have made 10+ three-pointers in 19 of 29 games this year, a season-high mark under Donovan.
» Florida has made a three in 680 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» Vanderbilt is the league’s most accurate team from beyond the arc, hitting 39.8 percent of their long-range attempts.
» The Commodores are hosting Senior Night on Tuesday and come into the game having won four of their last five contests with their sole loss coming to Kentucky.
» The Gators are 287-37 since 1988-89 when holding opponents under 70 points and 237-38 since 1998-99 when recording 15 or more assists in a game.
» Florida has won 20+ games for the 14th consecutive season after defeating Alabama. That mark is currently the longest active streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally.
» The Gators are undefeated (17-0) this year when posting a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and just 5-7 when that margin is even or negative.
» Struggling from the line in nonconference action, Florida is shooting a league-best 76.0 percent from the charity stripe.
» The Gators, which have already secured a top-four seed and a first-round bye in the 2012 SEC Tournament, can clinch the No. 2 seed with a victory on Tuesday.

LAST TIME OUT
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of the Florida-Vandy gameday preview.]Defeating Vanderbilt all three times the teams squared off in 2011, Florida extended their winning streak to four games with a 73-65 victory at home on Feb. 4. The Gators never gave up the lead the final 11 minutes of the game, forcing 17 Commodores turnovers thanks in part to a defensive press that kept them off-balance all afternoon. Florida also shot 45.8 percent from beyond the arc, and the Gators’ four primary guards each scored in double digits with Kenny Boynton (18 points) leading the way.

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 136 consecutive games with 75-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (4,099) and ranks second in points (1,692), treys (275), assists (516), steals (150) and free throws made (417). Walker is No. 4 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 1 in assists, No. 7 in free throws, No. 2 in threes made, No. 1 in treys attempted (718) and No. 2 in minutes. He is also hitting a team-best 81.7 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe while averaging 12.5 points and an SEC-best 4.8 assists per game.
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shooting better than he has throughout his career (46.7 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks sixth in the SEC among active players in points (1,504) and third in three-pointers (250). He had hit a trey in 34-straight games and is the SEC’s second-leading scorer averaging 17.6 points per game. Boynton is No. 6 on UF’s list for threes made.
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year and is one of the most talented players to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over the team. He is averaging 14.7 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from the line, playing a team-high 34.1 minutes per game.
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joined the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action in 2011. He has four double-doubles on the season and scored a career-high 25 points against Arizona. Young is posting averages of 10.3 points, 6.4 boards and 1.0 blocks per game while hobbled with ankle tendinitis.
» Junior forward Erik Murphy (#33)…who is trying to add a post game and solid rebounding to his efficient shooting stroke. Murphy is averaging 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds with a team-high 1.1 blocks. He is one of three regular shooters on the team averaging better than 40 percent from three, hitting 42.9 percent of his attempts.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons at Rutgers and averaged 16.7 points per game his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ sixth man and is seeing 15.4 minutes of court time each game, averaging 7.5 points while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

VANDERBILT
» G John Jenkins (#23)…who is leading his team in scoring (20.0 points) and minutes (33.7 per game) while shooting an efficient 46.0 percent from three. He also hits a team-high 84.7 percent of his free throw attempts and is considered one of the most dangerous scorers in the SEC every time he is on the court.
» F Jeffrey Taylor (#44)…who is one of four seniors looking to make their final home game a special victory. Taylor is the Commodores’ second leading scorer at 17.3 points per game and is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and a team-high 46.2 percent from downtown.
» C Festus Ezeli (#3)…who is another senior playing his last game in the Memorial Gym and hopes to dominate a thin Gators’ frontcourt. Ezeli averages 10.3 points, 5.4 boards and a team-high 2.2 blocks per game.
» F Lance Goulbourne (#5)…who is yet another senior Vanderbilt player that will give Florida fits in the frontcourt. Goulbourne averages a team-high 6.9 boards per game and can also hit threes at a 31.4 percent clip. He scores 8.9 points per game in 28.6 minutes each contest.[/EXPAND]

4 Comments

  1. John S says:

    It would be huge to win this one. Hopefully we can pull things together, we’re in danger of a downward spiral here.

    Go Gators!

  2. CeeThree says:

    hoping this team actually shows up.. they can be so fun and so frustrating to watch, hopefully Billy’s message of needing a leader to step up is heard, and that person shows it tonight.

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    letting them make 50% from 3? jenkins killed us. Billy loved the effort first half, just not good scoring…2nd half we played great for first 10 mins, then just back to form, firing 3s not working hard to get it inside, not defending well. Lunardi has us as a 4 seed right now, unless we beat UK on Sat or make long run in SEC tourney, we are a 6-7 seed at best.

    This team just isn’t that good. They have no leadership at all. 3 McDonalds AA on team and they can’t get it together. I hate to fault Billy, because I think he is one of the best coaches in the country, but these guys just have no inspiration or interest in excelling. The 04s had a chip on shoulder and something to prove, these guys are all feeling entitled due to UF success and Billy can’t figure out how to bring them to reality. Losses don’t seem to be noticed. Only Beal seems to even care…

  4. John S. says:

    Just not working out, bad way to end a season. Maybe UK looks past us.

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