Florida vs. Georgia preview: Prather out, Walker waiting, Gators going streaking

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

TV: ESPNU (Joe Davis, Dino Gaudio)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN appLive Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(7) FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 13-2 (2-0 SEC) Record: 8-6 (2-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14.5 | O/U [OFF]

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida lead the all-time series against Georgia 108-99 (25-10 under Donovan). The Gators are 14-3 against the Bulldogs at home under Donovan with 11-straight victories against their rivals in the O’Dome.
» Due to the SEC’s rotational schedule, UF and UGA will not meet twice this season. According to the school, it will be the first time that has happened since the 1943-44 campaign, when Florida did not field a basketball team.
» The Gators are attempting to break the program record for longest home winning streak. UF has won 24-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to last season when it went undefeated in its home gym. The streak is the third-longest nationally behind Stephen F. Austin and Duke (26).
» Florida is on a seven-game winning streak and has won 12 of its last 13 games.
» The Gators are 65-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 6-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators will likely be using their eighth different starting lineup in 16 games.

NOT BACK YET

Senior forward Casey Prather (knee) will miss his second-straight contest, Donovan announced on Monday. Prather continues to deal with what is being termed a bone bruise and will have missed three practices and two games by the time the final buzzer sounds on Tuesday. “He still has issues. He’s getting better. He’s progressing. When he’ll be available to play, I don’t know, but he’s out,” said Donovan.

Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) and senior center Patric Young (knee) continue to deal with their own ailments but will both play Tuesday as expected. Both have been full participants in practice coming out of Florida’s 84-82 overtime win at Arkansas on Saturday.

“[Wilbekin] is still sore. He’s still dealing with some issues,” he said. “Those guys are full-go. [Monday] in practice they [were] out there. I’m sure Scottie is dealing with some soreness and stiffness in his ankle. He should be able to play [Tuesday].”

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Wilbekin’s defense, attitude propelling Florida

No. 7/8 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 14-2 (4-0 SEC) Record: 7-10 (1-3 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Location: Stegeman Coliseum – Athens, GA [Capacity: 10,523]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Barry Booker) [Affiliates]
SiriusXM: 134/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

Odds: Florida -15.5 | O/U (OFF)

The Florida Gators basketball roster is filled with McDonald’s All-Americans, highly-rated recruits and big-name players, but it is junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin – an underrated local product (and project) out of Gainesville, FL who joined the team after his junior season of high school – who is having a huge impact on the team.

On a team with a pair of big-time scorers in the backcourt, much of the dirty work is left to Wilbekin. Senior guard Kenny Boynton plays fantastic defense and redshirt senior Mike Rosario is improving in that area, but Wilbekin has been shutting down his man game-in and game-out all while leading Florida with 4.9 assists per game.

Over the last two contests, Wilbekin held Texas A&M’s Elston Turner to four points on 1-of-10 shooting just one game after Turner scored 40 points against Kentucky and dominated Missouri’s Phil Pressey, who committed a career-high 10 turnovers while going 1-for-7 from the field for two points.

In fact, Wilbekin is on his way to climbing the ranks of some of the best on-ball defenders in the history of the program as he draws comparisons to hard-working guys like Justin Hamilton and Corey Brewer.

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Gameday: (9) Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: CSS/Cox Sports (Dave Baker, Bill Koss) [CSS Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 92/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 9/11 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 10-2 (0-0 SEC) Record: 6-7 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -19.5 | O/U OFF

INJURY UPDATES

Less than four hours before tip-off, Florida announced that senior forward Erik Murphy (fractured rib) will be active for Wednesday’s game after missing one contest with his injury. Murphy bruised his ribs against Air Force two games ago and suffered a fracture to the same area while practicing leading up to his homecoming contest against Yale on Sunday. He sat out that game and was deemed doubtful for Wednesday’s game but will now apparently be active and able to play.

According to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports, the Gators are also dealing with another injury as junior F Will Yeguete hurt his knee. “[Florida] may not have Will Yeguete due to knee injury. Will be limited – if he is able to play,” he tweeted. The school announced 45 minutes prior to tip-off that Yeguete will be active for the game but that junior F Casey Prather has been inserted into the starting lineup.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 106-97 all-time against Georgia and boast the most victories against this rival than any other team. The Gators hold a 23-8 record against the Bulldogs sine Donovan took over the program and are 13-2 in that span while playing in the O’Dome.
» UF is 15-3 over the last 18 games against UGA with 10-straight wins at home.
» Florida is 11-5 in SEC openers under Donovan and 14-2 in SEC home openers.
» Four of UF’s regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its 12 opponents under 50 points but has given up 58 or more points in four of its last five games (3-2).
» UF is 35-3 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (10-2 in 2012-13).
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is fourth nationally in scoring defense (52.7), fifth in scoring margin (+20.6), 11th in field goal percentage defense (.368) and 19th in field goal percentage (.483).
» The Gators are 13th nationally in fouling, committing 14.3 per game, and 94th nationally in assists, dishing just 14.3 per game.
» Georgia is ranked extremely low in nearly every statistical category. The Bulldogs are listed 47th in field goal percentage defense (.386)

Read the rest of the Florida-Georgia preview with much more after the break!
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No. 13 Florida vs. Georgia Gameday Preview

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2HD / ESPN3D
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Sirius/XM: 121/141
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 13 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 21-5 (10-2) Record: 18-8 (7-5)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Georgia 104-96. The Gators have won 13 out of the last 15 games in the series against the Bulldogs and are 21-7 overall against them under Donovan including 11-2 in Gainesville.
» UF has won eight-straight games against UGA in the O’Dome.
» With a victory, the Gators will clinch the SEC East division and earn an automatic first-round bye in the 2011 SEC Tournament.
» Florida has won 16 of its last 19 games (and 13 of their last 15) with 11 victories against RPI top 100 teams.
» The Gators are 18-1 (7-0 in SEC play) when holding an opponent under 70 points this season after limiting LSU to 61 on Sunday.
» Florida junior point guard Erving Walker, with 192 three-pointers, is tied for sixth all-time at Florida with Matt Walsh. He is six treys away from moving into the top five.
» Defeating Tennessee two Saturdays ago, UF reached 20+ wins for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the SEC. They have also reached 10 wins in league play for the ninth time in the last 13 years and first time since 2007 (13-3).
» A win Thursday would give Florida six-straight victories against SEC opponents for the first time since 2007 (11).
» The Gators hold advantages over the Bulldogs in a pair of major national statistical categories. Florida scores more points per game 70.8-69.9 (121st-149th) and shoots a better percentage .457-.454 (77th-94th), but Georgia dishes more assists per game 15.6-13.7 (28th-125th). The teams are equals off the glass, each grabbing an average of 38.3 rebounds per game. The Gators rank 12th in RPI (.6353) and 10th in strength of schedule nationally compared to the Bulldogs being 38th (.5923) and 31st, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT…

Florida and Georgia will square off for the second time this season; the Gators defeated the Bulldogs in a 104-91 double-overtime thriller in Athens, GA on Jan. 25. In the contest, Walker hit a dagger three-pointer to force a second overtime and Parsons took over in the final period to give the Gators a hard-fought victory.

PARSONS LIMITED FOR GATORS ON THURSDAY

Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons, who is averaging double-digit points (10.8) while leading the Gators with 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, will be limited on Thursday after suffering a deep thigh bruise two Saturdays ago against Tennessee. He received treatment on the injury for 11 consecutive days and missed Sunday’s game at LSU but will be active and able to contribute Thursday even though he will not start. Freshman F Casey Prather will take his place in the starting lineup.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.8 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.426) and three-point percentage (.390). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (66) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 57.3 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 36.4 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.1 points per game and makes a team-high 83.1 percent of his free throws.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
» Prather…who will likely earn his second start for the orange and blue on Thursday. The freshman only plays an average of 7.3 minutes per game but is shooting at a 45.7 percent clip on 35 shot attempts this season.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25:1), while Young averages 3.4 points and 3.4 boards off the bench.
» Georgia F Trey Thompkins…who is the standout performer on his team. Thompkins averages team-highs in points per game (16.0), rebounds (7.7) and blocks (1.8).
» Bulldogs F Travis Leslie…who compliments Thompkins nicely and is second on his team with 14.0 points and 7.1 boards per game.

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No. 23 Florida Gators at Ga. Bulldogs Gameday

Location: Stegeman Coliseum – Athens, GA [Capacity: 10,523]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Sirius/XM:
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 23/24 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 15-4 (4-1) Record: 14-4 (3-2)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Georgia -2.5; O/U 135

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Georgia 103-96. The Gators have won 12 out of the last 14 games in the series against the Bulldogs and are 20-7 overall against them under Donovan including 8-5 in Athens. However, Florida has lost its last two contests at Georgia by a combined four points.
» UF has won 10 of its last 12 games with six victories against RPI top 100 teams.
» The Gators are 6-1 in SEC play over the last two seasons with three or fewer days between games (2-0 this season).
» Florida is 4-0 in true road games and currently holds a 6-1 record away from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center this season.
» The Gators are 11-1 when holding an opponent under 60 points this season. They have held back-to-back opponents (Auburn-40, Arkansas-43) under 45 points, the lowest two-game total in SEC play ever under Donovan (previous low 90). UF’s defense has held consecutive SEC opponents under 45 points for the first time since 1947 and for the first time in the shot clock era.
» Florida has out-rebounded 15 of 19 opponents (two of five in SEC competition) this season and are doing so by a +7.1 rebounds per game advantage.
» The Bulldogs best the Gators in three of four major statistical categories nationally. Georgia holds advantages in points per game 121st-155th (71.3-70.1), assists 34th-76th (15.6-14.6) and field goal percentage 56th-71st (.466-.461), while Florida is more efficient off the glass leading in rebounds 55th-71st (38.2-37.4). The Gators rank 16th in RPI (.6343) and 10th in strength of schedule nationally compared to the Bulldogs being 41st (.5967) and 79th, respectively.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 13.7 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (43.9%) and three-point percentage (41.8%). He has single-handedly accounted for 41 of Florida’s 109 treys this season. Walker became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat earlier this year.
» Senior forward Chandler Parsons…who is back to averaging double-digit points (10.0) while leading the Gators with 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Parsons notched a career-high 15 boards on Saturday against Arkansas.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-high 57.3 percent as a starter this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game while being a major presence for Florida.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably UF’s most talented player but had been marred in a slump this year until recently breaking out of it. Boynton is only shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game and hits a team-high 77.4 percent of his free throws.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are the Gators primary reserves averaging 17.8 and 16.2 minutes per game, respectively. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads Florida in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.2:1), while Young is the team’s most efficient scorer at 59.1 percent.
» Georgia F Trey Thompkins…who is the main reason his is the best-shooting team in the SEC. Thompkins averages 17.4 points per game, leads his team in blocks (1.6 per game) and pulls down 7.1 rebounds each contest.
» Bulldogs F Travis Leslie…who leads his squad in rebounding with 7.3 boards per game and is second on the team in scoring averaging 14.7 points.

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Georgia Bulldogs

Location: Stegeman Coliseum – Athens, GA [Capacity: 10,523]
Time: 4:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360.com
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators Georgia Bulldogs
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 20-8, 9-4 SEC Record: 12-14, 4-9 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -1, O/U 138.5

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging a combined 29.5 points and 7.2 assists per game in conference play this season.
» Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 56 of the Gators’ 72 treys in SEC play. After struggling the previous two games, the duo combined to shoot 9-for-19 from the field and 4-for-9 from downtown on Tuesday.
» Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is taking control of the front court, has reached double figures in 15 of 19 games and scored 15+ in eight of those.
» Junior F Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in six straight games also has two double-doubles in those matches. He has been helping dish the ball and run the point while averaging 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds and shooting 55.6 percent.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 13-2 when the redshirt junior transfer center finishes in double figures. He had a career-high 22 points in a win against Ole Miss last Saturday.
» Bulldogs F Trey Thompkins…who leads his team in both scoring (17.8 points per game) and rebounding (8.1 boards per game). He is second in the SEC in scoring.

STREAKS:
» Florida leads the all-time series against Georgia 103-95, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Gators are 20-6 overall against the Bulldogs under Billy Donovan.
» Florida has won nine of its last 11 conference games. Should the Gators win Saturday, it will be their sixth true road win of the season (most since 2005-06). Defeating the Rebels last weekend, they swept the SEC West (6-0) for the first time since 2003 and acquired their most road wins since 2006-07.
» UF is 6-3 in games decided by five points or less compared to 4-6 in such games last season; they are also 5-1 in the last six contests that were that close.
»Florida has shot at least 24 free throws in three-straight games. The Gators are 6-1 when getting to the line at least that many times.
» The Gators have out-rebounded seven of their last ten conference opponents and is 13-2 overall when out-rebounding an opponent in 2010.
» After shooting just 47.8 percent from the charity stripe (22-of-46) over its previous two games, Florida has gone 73-for-91 (80.2 percent) from the line in three contests since.
» Six of the Gators’ eight losses on the season have come from teams with RPIs currently inside the top 28 (five from teams ranked 19 or higher).
» A win last Tuesday gave UF its 12th consecutive 20-win season, good for the longest active streak in the SEC and fifth-longest in the nation.
» Five of Georgia’s nine SEC losses have come by four points or less.
» The Bulldogs have taken impressive wins over then-No. 17 Illinois, Georgia Tech and then-No. 8 Tennessee this season.

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