Although they now have two big top 15 wins on their resume, the Gators can’t allow themselves to get tripped up in today’s game.
#16 Florida (8-2) continues its two-game neutral site series this afternoon against Fresno State (6-5) in the Orange Bowl Classic hosted in Sunrise, Fla. The Gators are riding the momentum of equally thrilling victories over Kansas and Memphis, both of which were ranked in the top 15 (Kansas is now at #18). However, Florida can’t overlook the underdog Bulldogs this afternoon.
Fresno State, which has mainly played other California teams, has also been on the road lately, but with different results than Florida’s — a 67-56 loss at California a week ago and a 90-77 loss at Utah two weeks ago. The Bulldogs hold a 1-4 away record, while the Gators are 2-2.
The two teams’ stats aren’t far off from one another. Fresno State’s leading scorer is sophomore guard Marvelle Harris with 17.9 points per game, while Florida counters with senior forward Casey Prather at 18.7. Sophomore guard Cezar Guerrero holds the highest average assists for the Bulldogs with 4.4, and Gators senior guard Scottie Wilbekin has 5.2. Rebounds for both teams are almost equal — Gators redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith has 7.5 per game, with Bulldogs senior guard Tyler Johnson not far behind at 7.3.
Fresno State, averaging 76.2 points per game, also scores more than Florida (72.3), and boasts four games in which they have scored at least 90 (they are 3-1 in those games), a stat UF lacks. However, the Gators have had a better defense against a tougher schedule, allowing 62.3 points per game while the Bulldogs allow 74.6.
Florida will likely go with the same five starters for Memphis four days ago – Prather, Wilbekin, senior center Patric Young, senior forward Will Yeguete and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II. Fresno State could start Harris, Guerrero, Johnson, junior forward Alex Davis and freshman forward Paul Watson.
Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. Catch the game on TV through FSN / Sun Sports or on the radio through Gator IMG Sports Network (Sirius 119, XM 199).