The perfect way to commemorate Billy Donovan’s 600th game as the Florida head coach would be a win today. Those haven’t been hard to come by for the Gators lately.
No. 6 Florida (16-2, 5-0 SEC) will look to continue its winning ways against Tennessee (12-6, 3-2 SEC) and add on to its 10-game winning streak and 25-game home winning streak this afternoon. This match-up is sure to be a good one, with a sold-out O’Dome crowd looking on.
Tennessee has been a thorn in Florida’s side in recent years. The Volunteers have won the last three meetings, with the Gators shooting only 40 percent in those games combined, and hold a 18-16 advantage over UF in the Donovan era. Additionally, Tennessee averages slightly more points (74.8), assists (13.0) and rebounds (39.5) per game than Florida (72.1, 12.8, 36.8).
Despite all that, Florida’s momentum, as well as the home court advantage, could help lead it past Tennessee. Although this year’s conference wins have been a lot tighter than last season’s, the Gators have improved in close games, going 8-2 in games decided by single digits. The team was 0-6 in such games last year.
Different players have also stepped up for the Gators at different times. Casey Prather, who has returned from a bone bruise injury, was second in scoring with 14 points against Alabama and needs only three more today to match his senior season scoring total with the combined 276 points he scored in his previous three seasons.
Florida’s probable starters include senior forwards Will Yeguete and Prather, senior center Patric Young, senior guard Scottie Wilbekin and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II. Tennessee will likely start junior forward Jarnell Stokes, redshirt senior forward Jeronne Maymon, junior guard Josh Richardson and senior guards Antonio Barton and Jordan McRae.
Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. Catch the game on TV through ESPN, on the radio through Gator IMG Sports Network (Sirius 91, XM 91) and Country 103.7 The Gator or streaming through WatchESPN (if your cable provider allows it).