Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (ET)
|FLORIDA GATORS||ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: John Pelphrey|
|Record: 14-4 (3-1)||Record: 12-5 (2-2)|
|Division: SEC East||Division: SEC West|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -9
HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida leads the all-time series against Arkansas 13-10, is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings and 3-0 the last three times the teams have met including a 71-66 victory on the road in 2010. Donavan is 13-5 against the Razorbacks, which includes a 7-0 record at home.
» The Gators finished 6-0 against the SEC West last season, are 52-16 since 2000 (30-4 at home) and are 2-0 this season including wins over Ole Miss and Auburn.
» Struggling offensively most of the season, Florida scored 77.3 points per game in three games from Jan. 8-15 while shooting 46.9 percent (23-for-49) from three-point range. However, all of that changed Thursday as the Gators scored only 45 points while shooting 28.3 percent (15-of-53) from the field and 19.2 percent from downtown (5-of-26) against Auburn in the worst offensive performance in Donovan’s UF career.
» Florida has won 9 of its last 11 games with six victories against RPI top 100 teams.
» The Gators are 10-1 when holding an opponent under 60 points this season.
» Florida has out-rebounded 14 of 18 opponents this season but only one of their four opponents in SEC competition, doing so by a +6.8 rebounds per game advantage.
» Arkansas is a defensive machine this season, leading the Southeastern Conference in blocked shots (6.8 per game), steals (9.4 per game) and turnover margin (+2.9).
» The Gators best the Razorbacks in three of four major statistical categories nationally. Florida holds advantages in rebounding 64th-180th (37.9-35.2), assists 85th-173rd (14.4-13.1) and field goal percentage 82nd-158th (.459-.441), while Arkansas scores more points 112th-165th (72.2-69.8) on average. The Gators rank 17th in RPI (.6316) and 11th in strength of schedule nationally compared to the Razorbacks being 102nd (.5397) and 180th, respectively.
» Donovan will face Pelphrey, a former assistant of his for eight years at Marshall and UF, and assistant coach Brett Nelson, a former player under Donovan at Florida.
KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.4 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (44.9%) and three-point percentage (42.7%). He has single-handedly accounted for 41 of Florida’s 104 treys this season. Walker became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat one week ago.
» Senior forward Chandler Parsons…who is back to averaging double-digit points (10.3) while leading the Gators with 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-high 56.4 percent as a starter this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game while being a major presence for Florida.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably UF’s most talented player but has been marred in a slump this year. Boynton is only shooting 36.2 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from beyond the arc. He is second on the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game and hits a team-high 77.1 percent of his free throws.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are the Gators primary reserves averaging 17.6 and 16.0 minutes per game, respectively. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads Florida in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.4:1), while Young is the team’s most efficient scorer at 57.5 percent.
» Arkansas G Rotnei Clarke…who leads his team in scoring at 13.0 points per game and is second in free throw shooting, hitting at a 80.5 percent clip.
» Razorbacks F Delvon Johnson…who leads his squad as a shooter and rebounder. Johnson hits 56.1 percent of his shots and grabs 8.0 boards per game.
DONOVAN’s FRIDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY
After Thursday’s close win against Auburn, Donovan spoke to the media and had some interesting thoughts about his team’s performance.
On his team’s poor shooting Thursday: “I felt watching the film that our guys had pretty decent looks. Were there some ill-advised threes? Absolutely. Were there some ill-advised post moves that guys tried to make in traffic? Yes. Overall I thought we had pretty decent looks. Our guys got pretty good looks from the perimeter. The more shots don’t go down, the more they can back up into your post.”
On how he feels in general looking back on the game: “Happy it’s over. I’ve never been a part of a game like that. […] Hopefully it drives home a message to our guys. This was a game in which our offense was not there, we didn’t shoot the ball very well, it was a difficult grind for us offensively, but our guys managed to play relatively good defense.”
On the shooting problems: “I felt, in the game, that our guys were not shooting the ball with confidence when they were open. What you try to do is, you try to keep encouraging, trying to instill confidence that they have to take those shots and shoot the ball with confidence when they’re open.”
On the team taking so many threes: “You can want to throw the ball inside as much as you want to throw the ball inside, but if they’re going to send two and three guys inside on a post guy and you got Erving Walker or Kenny Boynton or Chandler Parsons or Scottie out there on the perimeter open… I don’t want our post guys shooting out of triple teams. I don’t want Vernon Macklin taking a turn-around jump shot with two guys on him. You always have got to take what the defense gives you.”