Florida Gators basketball has struggled against the three ranked teams it faced this season but will visit a friendly venue Saturday when it takes on the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Here’s a look ahead at the game: what to know and how to watch Florida-Oklahoma State in the 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
Event: 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BB&T Center – Sunrise, Florida [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, Bob Wenzel, Jessica Blaylock)
Streaming Video: Fox Sports Go
Mobile Video: Fox Sports Go app (iPhone) / (Android)
SiriusXM: 132/192 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|Florida Gators||Oklahoma State Cowboys|
|Head Coach: Mike White||Head Coach: Travis Ford|
|Record: 6-3||Record: 7-3|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Big 12|
Spread: -9.5 | O/U: 130
Asking the Gators to cover what is essentially a double-digit spread against a Power Five opponent is a tough request, though there should be no doubt that Florida deserves to be favored on Saturday night in the OBBC. With an offense desperately in need of a spark, UF may get just that (see below) in a neutral-site game being played at as friendly a location as possible for the Gators.
Still, it is more likely that – with just days until the holiday break – Florida just fails to cover. The Gators are woefully inconsistent beyond the arc and at the charity stripe, so even if UF is given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, it still has to take advantage of it. The total sounds just about right, so for a game that should wind up in the 60s, it’s simply safer to go over.
ATS picks: 2-2 | O/U picks: 3-1
Injuries and absences
Anniversary return? Redshirt senior F Alex Murphy has missed the entire 2015-16 season to this point while recovering from a foot injury suffered during Florida’s exhibition game. Despite sitting out for nine contests, Murphy may wind up playing for the Gators on Saturday as White said this past week that it all would depend on how Murphy felt in practice over the last few days.
In a bit of a coincidence, Murphy may return for Florida on the same court he began his Gators career exactly one year ago. As a mid-year transfer, Murphy was not able to start the 2014-15 campaign and saw his first action in the 2014 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, posting nine points, four rebounds an assist, two steals and two memorable blocks.
Florida could certainly use an energy boost from Murphy, whom White praised this week. “He’s tremendous. Alex has got … if he wanted to coach … he’s got a future in it. I’m sure he’ll have a bunch of options. He’s a bright guy. He’s infectious with his personality. He’s as good as a teammate as I’ve ever been around. We have three or four guys like that that just are big givers – he’s a big giver, a real positive guy. … He’s about Florida winning. He’s always doing his best to help his teammates.”
» Florida is 2-0 all-time against Oklahoma State with both contests occurring at neutral sites. UF and OSU last squared off in the Elite Eight of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
» The Gators are 14-2 all-time in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic with five-straight victories. UF will be participating in the event for the 15th time in the last 16 years.
» Florida has now started three different starting fives this season. Overall, eight players have started this season with the only two constants being redshirt senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith and redshirt sophomore center John Egbunu.
» UF’s three losses are to teams with a combined record of 29-1.