Senior Night – Gameday: No. 9/11 Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

By Adam Silverstein
March 6, 2013

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Barry Booker) [Affiliates]
SiriusXM: 123/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 9/11 FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record: 23-5 (13-3 SEC) Record: 13-15 (7-9 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -19 | O/U OFF

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida clinched at least a share of the SEC regular season title on Saturday but is looking to win the championship outright on Wednesday for the second time in the last three years. The Gators have won six SEC regular season titles (four outright).
» Vanderbilt leads the all-time series against UF 64-60, but Florida has the upper hand recently with a 22-12 record Donovan and 4-1 mark in the last five meetings. The Gators are 38-13 against the Commodores in the O’Dome (13-3 under Donovan).
» For the first time since 1965, Florida and Vanderbilt will not square off in a home-and-home series during the regular season. This will be their only meeting.
» The Gators are undefeated at home this season and have started 14-0 in the O’Dome for the fourth time under Donovan. UF can get to 15-0 for just the third time ever and finish undefeated for just the second time under Donovan with a win Wednesday.
» Four Gators starters are averaging double figures in scoring. The Commodores have just two players that score in double digits on average.
» Florida is 48-5 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (22-4 in 2012-13).
» Vanderbilt has won three-straight games after starting the SEC slate 4-9. The Commodores, however, have lost both games against ranked opponents this season by an average of 20.5 points.
» 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.
» The Gators are second nationally in scoring margin (+19.3), third in scoring defense (53.4), seventh in field goal defense (.376), eighth in field goal percentage (.488), 14th in three-point shooting (8.5 per game) and assist-turnover ratio (1.38), 19th in turnover margin (3.4), 22th in three-point defense (.299) and 25th in assists (15.5).
» Florida is also fifth nationally in fouling, committing 13.9 per game.

Read more about Senior Night in the O’Dome and Florida-Vanderbilt…

WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH

FLORIDA
The Gators locked up at least a share of the 2013 SEC regular season title on Saturday but have the opportunity to win the championship outright on Wednesday. Florida beat Vanderbilt two years ago in Nashville, TN to win its last SEC title and is facing a much less talented team this time around. Coinciding with the prospects of winning the outright championship is Senior Night in Gainesville (more on that below). The Gators’ seniors obviously want to go out on top and the best way to do that in front of a home crowd filled with family and friends is to pull off the victory.

» Senior guard Kenny Boynton (#1), senior forward Erik Murphy (#33) and redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario (#3) … see “Senior Night” below.

VANDERBILT
Though the Commodores are guaranteed a spot in the SEC Tournament, Vanderbilt does not have much left to play for in the regular season. Currently the 11-seed in the tourney, the Commodores would have to win both of their remaining games and get a ton of help to move into the better half of the seedings. What Vanderbilt truly has to play for on Wednesday is its role as potential spoiler. The Commodores can wreck Senior Night at UF and simultaneously force the Gators to wait until Saturday to try and win the SEC Championship outright.

» Sophomore G Kendren Johnson (#2) is Vanderbilt’s top playmaker, leading the team in scoring (13.6 points), assists (3.7), steals (1.1) and free throw shooting (.694). Johnson also plays a team-high 31.9 minutes per game and hauls in 3.8 boards per contest. The problem with Johnson is that he is also turnover-prone, committing an average of three each contest. That will be an issue for the Commodores as Johnson will likely have Scottie Wilbekin all over him throughout the game.

SENIOR NIGHT

The Gators’ 2013 senior class consists of three players including two who spent all four years of their college careers at Florida. The true senior class of Boynton and Murphy heads into Wednesday night’s game with a four-year record of 55-9 in the O’Connell Center. As upperclassmen, along with Rosario, the Gators are 28-2 in the O’Dome over the last two seasons.

UF has won at least 20 games in each of the last four seasons with the true seniors boasting a combined .728 winning percentage (.703 in SEC play). Florida, however, has been just 13-14 against ranked opponents in that span and 2-7 against rival Kentucky.

Despite the bumps in the road and number of injuries that have plagued the team during the 2012-13 season, the Gators remain in position to win the SEC regular season title outright on Wednesday for the second time in the last three years. Boynton, Murphy and Rosario can become the first senior class in program history to graduate with two outright SEC regular season titles.

“We’re playing for a lot here on Wednesday,” Donovan said on Monday. “Winning a championship outright I think is always special. Certainly they’ve got at least a piece of it right now. … I think it says a lot just because I don’t think it’s ever happened before in the history of the program. … I would be certainly very happy for our guys, very proud of them. I think it would be a great accomplishment.”

And while Donovan will ensure that Senior Night is as special as possible for his three seniors, he knows that their minds are focused on the task at hand.

“I’m happy for those three guys. I think those guys understand that the game, even though it’s Senior Night, the game is bigger than Senior Night for us as a team with what’s on the line playing against Vanderbilt. I think any time it’s a senior’s last home game, it’s always meaningful,” he said.

FEATURE STORIES ON FLORIDA’S SENIOR CLASS

Monday – Forward Erik Murphy: “It’s been the best four years of my life.”
Tuesday – Guard Mike Rosario: “You got to be accountable for everything you do.”
Wednesday – Guard Kenny Boynton: “I’ve tried … to win as much as I could.”

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

Boynton continues to make waves in his fourth year as a starter for the Gators. He is quickly climbing 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 (320) and attempted (934), field goal attempts (1,591), career starts (133) and minutes played (4,414). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,940) and three-pointers among active players and is sixth all-time in SEC history in career three-pointers made.

Career scoring
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
2. Kenny Boynton – 1,940 points

Field goals made
1. Ronnie Williams – 772
5. Eugene McDowell – 642
6. Gene Shy – 639
7. Kenny Boynton – 635

Games played
1. Walter Hodge – 151
5. Dan Werner – 141 (tied: Chris Richard)
7. Kenny Boynton – 136 (tied: Lee Humphrey)

* Murphy (127) is three games away from entering the top-10.

Free throws made
1. Ronnie Williams – 546
8. Dan Cross – 411
9. Kenny Boynton – 350 (tied: Taurean Green, David Lee)

Assists
1. Erving Walker – 547
9. Taurean Green – 397
10. Kenny Boynton – 376

Three-point field goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts)
1. Joe Lawrence – .504
2. Andrew Moten – .445
3. Lee Humphrey – .444
4. Erik Murphy – .437
5. Pat Lawrence – .436

4 Comments

  1. gatorboi352 says:

    Having just cancelled my TV portion of Cox, I REALLY hope they do not black out this game on WATCHESPN and/or ESPN3 tonight.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Just checked Adam’s link to the TV “Affiliates” page and am I correct in seeing that this will be on ABC (20.1 antenna) tonight? If so I’m in luck!

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    Ha ha! this is impressive!

    Record: 13-15 (17-9 SEC)

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