No. 16 Florida basketball vs. Southern preview

By Adam Silverstein
November 18, 2013

Event: Global Sports Challenge
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

(16) FLORIDA GATORS SOUTHERN JAGUARS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Roman Banks
Record: 2-1 Record: 1-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southwestern Athletic
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Mark Wise) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: OFF

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Story: Gators down to No. 14/16 in new top 25 polls
» Notebook: Florida-Arkansas Little Rock post-game report. Florida F Dorian Finney-Smith shines in first game but is G Eli Carter headed for a readshirt?
» The Fastbreak: Breaking down Florida’s dominant 86-56 win over Arkansas-Little Rock

HISTORY / STATS / STREAKS

» Florida and Southern are meeting for just the second time with the Gators beating SU 83-27 on Nov. 28, 2006 in the only contest between the two programs.
» UF is currently 2-0 in the Global Sports Challenge, an exempt tournament, with wins over North Florida and Arkansas-Little Rock. A victory over Southern would clinch the event “title.” Florida squares off against Middle Tennessee on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in its final game of the challenge.
» The Gators have never lost to a SWAC, boasting a 7-0 record.
» The Jaguars advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season as a 16-seed and fought 1-seed Gonzaga hard before ultimately falling 64-58 in the first round.
» UF has won 17-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to the 2011-12 season as well as 18 consecutive non-conference home games.
» Florida is playing Monday after just a two-day turnaround, one of three the team is scheduled to have this season.
» The Gators are replacing their three leading scorers from 2012-13.
» UF is looking to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07 after having its season end in the Elite Eight in each of the last three years.
» Florida is now 4-3 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all three losses coming away from its home court.
» The Gators are 56-8 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 0-7 dating back to last season in games decided by single digits.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. The Gators have him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Donovan (417) enters the game 31 wins behind Dale Brown (448) for second-most in SEC history. He is currently the longest-tenured head basketball coach in the league.


PLAYER NOTES

» Senior forward Casey Prather has broken out in a major way through his team’s first three games. Prather is averaging team-highs of 22.3 points in 33.3 minutes per game while picking up 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists per contest. He is shooting a team-best 67.6 percent from the floor and has also made 72.7 percent of his free throw attempts.
» Senior center Patric Young enters Monday’s game just two points shy of 900 for his career. Next he will set his sights on becoming the 50th player in school history to score more than 1,000 points in his career.
» Redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith made his Florida debut on Saturday, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine boards in just 16.0 minutes off the bench. Finney-Smith was recovering from a viral infection but should be healthy for this game.
» Sophomore F DeVon Walker nearly transferred in the offseason. When he decided to stay with the Gators, he had chosen to take a redshirt for 2013-14. Instead, after Donovan asked him to reconsider, Walker decided to play this year and has started all three of UF’s games thus far. Walker averaged just 4.0 minutes per game in 2012-13 but has played 20.3 minutes per contest through three.
» Redshirt junior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz has done a great job filling in for some of Florida’s injured and suspended scholarship players. He has already played more minutes this season (59) than the rest of his career combined (48) and currently ranks third on the Gators with 14 total rebounds.
» Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin and redshirt junior C Damontre Harris remain indefinitely suspended from the program. Wilbekin is expected to return soon, but Harris is currently “off the team” and working his way back into Donovan’s good graces.

Part I (Nos. 42-12) | Part II (Nos. 10-0)

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