Florida Gators basketball hopes to continue its solid start to the 2015-16 campaign Sunday evening when it takes on the No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Ucasville, Connecticut.
Here’s a look ahead at Sunday’s game, which also serves as the finals of the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic: what to know and how to watch Florida-Purdue.
Event: Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena – Ucasville, Connecticut [Capacity: 10,000]
Time: 5:30 p.m. EST
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|Florida Gators||No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers|
|Head Coach: Mike White||Head Coach: Matt Painter|
|Record: 3-0||Record: 4-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Big Ten|
Spread: +6 | O/U: 141.5
Purdue and Florida present each other’s biggest test in this young season, and while neither has lost, the Boilers’ victories have been more impressive overall. The line is not a long one, but it’s a simple choice if you decide to take it: Go with the more experienced team with a returning coach that used to overcoming slow starts or a younger team in the Gators that still has a long way to go.
With Florida still developing under White, the move here is to pick against the Gators, but the truth is that this season will be very hard to predict game by game. Florida will lose contests it should otherwise win and vice versa. Regarding the total, while UF wants to push pace and be a high-scoring team, it has not shown the consistent scoring ability to do just that. The under is the play there.
ATS picks: 1-0 | O/U picks: 1-0
Florida fought back after trailing for much of the first half against St. Joseph’s on Saturday to pull off a 74-63 victory in the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. UF used a 21-4 run over the final 6:30 to ensure the victory. The Gators were a tad more disciplined with 26 fouls and 12 turnovers, but Florida added some shooting struggles to its early-season issues. UF hit just 38.2 percent of its field goals and 25.0 percent of its threes; the good news is that the Gators made 14-of-20 free throws (.700).
Sophomore forward Devin Robinson continued his solid start to the season with a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards; he went 5-for-10 from the field on the afternoon. Redshirt senior F Dorian Finney-Smith and junior point guard Kasey Hill led all scorers with 13 points each, but Finney-Smith committed five turnovers and Hill registered five fouls in the contest.
White said Florida “grinded [a victory] out” Saturday, noting that the Gators have a much more difficult test ahead of them on Sunday against a tough Purdue team that routed Old Dominion 61-39 in the tournament’s other game Saturday.
The teams actually happen to have a common opponent due to the tournament. The Boilers beat North Carolina A&T by 41 earlier this season, while the Gators pulled off a 50-point win over the Aggies in their second game of the season.
Injuries and absences
» Out (1): F Alex Murphy (foot)
» Purdue is 3-2 all-time against Florida, and the Big Ten holds a 32-22 record against UF. The Boilermakers are the first ranked opponent White will face as Gators coach.
» White joined the Gators with a 101-40 career record as a head basketball coach on the collegiate level, earning that mark in four seasons at Louisiana Tech. He won three-straight league titles with the Bulldogs.
» Florida was scheduled to play six games in 15 days over the second half of November. The Gators are playing their third in seven days and have their next contest on Wednesday.
» One season after seemingly switching its starting lineup every game, UF has used the same starting five in all three contests this year.
» Florida registered its first 100-point game in nearly four years during its second contest of the season.