#10 Florida will travel to Arkansas today to face the Razorbacks for their first SEC road test, but could be in a bit of trouble due to some key injuries.
Although the Gators (12-2) won their sixth game in a row against South Carolina and have started out 1-0 in the SEC, at least one starter will not see the court. Casey Prather, Florida’s leading scorer with 17.0 points per game, experienced swelling in his right knee after Wednesday’s game and was diagnosed with a bone bruise. It could be worse — doctors originally thought he might have torn cartilage — but he is officially out for today’s game.
Scottie Wilbekin was also hurt on Wednesday when he landed wrong and sprained his right ankle. He is listed as a game-time decision, and if he is to play, he will not start. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II have also been dealing with sore knees and a calf injury, respectively, but are expected to play.
Hopefully, Florida has gathered enough momentum so that the loss of Prather and the uncertainty of the rest of the lineup will not be too much of a problem. The Gators have won six of their last seven against the Razorbacks and went 1-1 against them last season.
Arkansas (11-3) has turned out to be a force to be reckoned with this year, though. They sit in the top 15 nationally in points per game (84.7) and assists per game (17.0), both higher than the Gators’ numbers at 71.9 points (which could dip because of the loss of Prather) and 12.5 assists. They also likely have some frustration to work through, having recently begun 0-1 in the SEC with a 69-53 loss at Texas A&M Wednesday. Additionally, the Hogs own the home court advantage in this matchup, an important factor which played a role in the Gators’ 80-69 loss in Fayetteville last season.
In summary, it will be interesting to see how both teams overcome their different forms of adversity.
Florida’s probable starters include redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith (in place of Prather), freshman guard Kasey Hill (if Wilbekin is unable to play at all), senior forward Will Yeguete, senior center Patric Young and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II. Arkansas will likely start senior forward Coty Clarke, freshman forward Bobby Portis, junior guard Rashad Madden, senior guard Rickey Scott Jr. and redshirt senior guard Fred Gulley III.
Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Catch the game on TV through ESPN2, on the radio through Gator IMG Sports Network and Country 103.7 The Gator or streaming through WatchESPN (if your cable provider allows it).