TWO BITS: Texas A&M preview, Beal’s big night

1 » No. 9/10 Florida Gators basketball is currently in College Station, TX getting ready to take on the Texas A&M Aggies in each team’s third Southeastern Conference game of the season. The Texas A&M athletic department is planning to put on a show Thursday. In addition to having quarterback Johnny Manziel in attendance, the school plans to have his Heisman Trophy on display so fans can take a picture with it before the game. The Aggies’ football team will also be honored at halftime. Additionally, Texas A&M will hand out 9,000 white T-shirts to fans in what is being dubbed a “White Out” at Reed Arena. In a strange twist, Florida announced Thursday afternoon that it will be donning its home white uniforms for the game while the actual home team will be “going with a special dark uniform to commemorate the night.” In other words, the opposite of how one of these white outs is supposed to work.

No. 9/10 FLORIDA GATORS TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 12-2 (2-0 SEC) Record: 12-3 (2-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Location: Reed Arena – College Station, TX [Capacity: 12,989]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD (Rece Davis, Bobby Knight)
SiriusXM: 134/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

Odds: Florida -10 | O/U 122.5

2 » Rookie guard Bradley Beal had a career night for the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, scoring a season-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting while hitting 6-of-7 attempts from downtown. Beal played a team-high 41 minutes in the game, set a career mark with six treys, matched a career-high with six assists and also added three rebounds, a block and a steal. He is having a stellar January for Washington after struggling through the first two months of the season. Over the last eight games, Beal is averaging 18.8 points, 3.4 dimes and 3.6 boards while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from beyond the arc.

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No. 13 Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Texas A&M

Event: 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 2:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN/Sun Sports
SiriusXM: 218/201
Live Updates: @OnlyGators (periodic score updates)

(13) FLORIDA GATORS (22) TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 7-2 Record: 8-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Pac-12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11; O/U 145

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before the big game? No problem. OGGOA has been here all season long compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon.

Story: Florida extends Billy Donovan through 2015-16

Donovan on free throws, Boynton’s homecoming | Rider post-game notes

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida and Texas A&M are tied 1-1 in the all-time series between the two teams, each winning one game at home. This is the first time the schools will square off on a neutral court and the first time they will play at all since 1992.
» The Gators are 3-2 under Donovan against Big 12 teams and 13-10 all-time.
» Florida is 8-2 all-time in the OBBC and will be participating in the event for the 11th time in the last 12 years.
» The Gators have made a three in 660 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» Florida has connected on 10 or more treys in six of eight games this season, failing to do so only against Syracuse and Arizona. Hitting double-digit threes in six-straight games is the longest streak under Donovan.
» Three Gators players are shooting better than 40 percent from downtown.
» UF has outrebounded eight of nine opponents this season.
» Florida is ranked No. 3 in scoring offense (86.8 points), No. 11 in scoring margin (19.6 points), No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57), No. 10 in assists (18.3) and No. 2 in three-pointers (11.3 per game) nationally as of Dec. 11. The Gators are also 317th (out of 338 teams) in free throw shooting (59.6 percent).
» UF has the second-best winning percentage against ranked opponents (.546) among SEC teams dating back to 1999-2000.
» The Gators are the first ranked opponent the Aggies have played this season.
» Texas A&M is on a six-game winning streak.
» The Aggies are ranked No. 4 in scoring defense (51.4 points), No. 2 in field goal defense (33.4 percent) and No. 4 in three-point defense (23.6 percent) nationally as of Dec. 11. Texas A&M is also No. 7 in rebounding (41.3).
» More than half of the Aggies’ points this season have come in the paint (53.1 percent).
» Texas A&M has held their last five opponents to averages of 44 points per game, 30.4 percent shooting from the floor and 17.8 percent shooting from downtown.
» The Aggies are 8-0 when leading at halftime or with five minutes to play.
» Texas A&M is 6-0 when shooting more free throws than their opponent and 7-0 when out-rebounding their opponent.
» The Aggies are 23-31 all-time against SEC schools.

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 116 consecutive games with 55-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (3,462) and treys (236) but also ranks second in points (1,455), assists (423) and steals (134) as well as third in free throws (357). Walker is No. 12 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 5 in assists, No. 8 in free throws, No. 5 in threes made, No. 4 in treys attempted (619) and No. 10 in minutes. He is the only player on the team making more than three quarters of his free throws (76.3 percent).
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shooting better than he has throughout his career (50.0 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks fifth in the SEC among active players in points (1,169) and fourth in three-pointers (184). He has hit a trey in 25-straight games.
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who is starting at the three for Florida fresh out of high school. Beal was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, one of the top five players in the country, and is arguably the most talented player to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over. He is averaging 15.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the line (second best on the team).
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joined the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young saw action in all 37 games as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action. He has four double-doubles on the season and scored a career-high 25 points against Arizona. Young is posting averages of 11.6 points, 7.9 boards and 1.6 blocks per game.
» Sophomore forward Will Yeguete (#15)…who is Florida’s do-everything player, averaging 6.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 22.6 minutes per game. The Gators’ primary frontcourt reserve, Yeguete has been thrust into the starting lineup recently due to injury.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who is finally playing for Florida after transferring out of Rutgers and sitting out the 2010-11 season. Rosario scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons with his former team and averaged 16.7 points per game during his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ de facto sixth man and is seeing 17.7 minutes of court time each game, averaging 9.8 points while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc.

TEXAS A&M
» F Ray Turner (#35)…who is the Aggies tallest starter at 6’9” and is averaging 13 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 63.8 percent from the floor in 24 minutes per game. He will likely be tasked with going up against Young throughout the contest.
» F Khris Middleton (#22)…who returned to the starting lineup a week ago after missing seven games due to suffering a partially torn meniscus in the season opener. Middleton is averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 boards and a pair of assists in the two contests he played this year.
» G Elston Turner (#31)…who sees the court the most for Texas A&M, averaging 29.3 minutes per game. Turner averages 12.1 points, 3.4 boards and 2.2 dimes while shooting 40 percent from downtown and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe.

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