Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN/ESPNHD (Mark Jones, Jimmy Dykes)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app
|No. 6/8 FLORIDA GATORS||ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Anthony Grant|
|Record: 22-5 (12-3 SEC)||Record: 19-9 (11-4 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -16 | O/U 120
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Alabama leads the all-time series against Florida 73-60, but the Gators are 17-5 against the Crimson Tide under Donovan. UF is 38-19 all-time against UA in Gainesville including 8-0 since Donovan took over.
» Donovan is 4-0 against Grant, his former assistant coach.
» Florida is undefeated at home this season and has started 13-0 in the O’Dome for the sixth time under Donovan (second in the last three seasons).
» Four Gators starters are averaging double figures in scoring. The Tigers have three players that score in double digits on average.
» Florida is 47-5 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (21-4 in 2012-13).
» Alabama has won five of its last six games, an impressive feat considering the Crimson Tide lost six of eight over a five-week span from Dec. 1, 2002 to Jan. 8, 2013. UA’s lone loss in its last six games was in a triple-overtime thriller at LSU.
» The Gators are 4-1 against top-25 opponents this season after going 3-5 against ranked adversaries last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams.
» Florida is 0-4 this season in single-digit decisions; Alabama is 8-2 in similar contests.
» The Gators are second nationally in scoring margin (+29.6), third in scoring defense (53.5), seventh in field goal defense (.375), eighth in field goal percentage (.489), ninth in three-point shooting (8.7 per game) and assist-turnover ratio (1.40), 20th in turnover margin (3.4), 21st in assists (15.8), and 24th in three-point percentage (.384) and three-point defense (.300).
» Florida is also seventh nationally in fouling, committing 14.1 per game.
» The Crimson Tide is 16th nationally in steals (9.0) and 20th in scoring defense (58.2).
» Active: Freshman Michael Frazier II (back), junior Casey Prather (facial laceration)
» Questionable: Junior Will Yeguete (knee)
Read the rest of the Florida-Alabama preview with much more after the break!
WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH
The Gators have struggled to put the SEC away and lock up the regular season for the first time since 2011 but are being presented yet another opportunity to take down a competitor and emerge as the true front-runner for the league title. Having lost two of its last three games and three of its last seven, Florida needs to start building some positive momentum heading into the postseason and that task begins on Saturday against a very tough opponent.
» Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario (#3) is leading the Gators in scoring this season, averaging 13.1 points per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, and has also been the top point scorer in each of Florida’s last four games. Rosario has heeded Donovan’s coaching and become more of a team player who is more concerned with winning basketball games than looking flashy on the court and putting up gaudy statistical lines. In fact, the formerly sloppy Rosario now boasts a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and has obviously earned Donovan’s trust as he is playing 29.8 minutes per game, third-most on the team.
After getting crushed in their SEC opener – the team’s sixth loss in eight games over a five-week span – the Crimson Tide has turned around its season and become a different team in league play. Alabama has won five of its last six games (the sole loss coming in a triple-overtime thriller at LSU on Feb. 26) and heads into the O’Dome just one game behind UF in the SEC standings. The Crimson Tide have not won the SEC regular season crown since 2002, and Grant has his team focused on ending that drought this season.
» Junior G Trevor Releford (#12) is easily Alabama’s best scorer, hitting 49.1 percent of his shots, draining 42.5 percent of his threes and scoring a team-high 15.6 points per game in a team-most 33.1 minutes per contest. Releford enters Saturday’s game with an incredibly hot hand as of late. He has scored 17, 36 and 21 points, respectively, in the last three games while shooting 67.0 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from beyond the arc in that span. Releford can go on cold spells when tested by a strong defender and that is exactly what the Gators will do likely by matching him up with junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior G 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 five categories: three-point field goals made (319) and attempted (931), field goal attempts (1,583), career starts (132) and minutes played (4,379). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,927) and three-pointers among active players and is sixth all-time in SEC history in career three-pointers made.
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
2. Andrew Moten – 1,930 points
3. Kenny Boynton – 1,927 points
Field goals made
1. Ronnie Williams – 772
6. Gene Shy – 639
7. Udonis Haslem – 633
8. Kenny Boynton – 632
1. Walter Hodge – 151
7. Lee Humphrey – 136
8. Kenny Boynton – 135
1. Erving Walker – 547
9. Taurean Green – 397
10. Kenny Boynton – 373
Boynton is also approaching the top 10 in free throws made (six away – 343).