Cue Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” for the Gators — at least for the last time in the regular season.
No. 1 Florida will square off with South Carolina tonight at 7 p.m. in Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena.
The Gators are currently 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference. If they can reach 17 wins (or, if not tonight, Saturday against Kentucky), they will become only the fourth team in conference history to have won 17 SEC games. The last team to have accomplished this feat was Kentucky in 1986.
This is Florida’s (27-2, 16-0 SEC) second time facing South Carolina (11-18, 4-12 SEC) this season. In their first meeting almost two months ago, the Gators defeated the Gamecocks 74-58. That was the game when Scottie Wilbekin sprained his right ankle with less than three minutes to play, and Chris Walker was still in NCAA limbo. Since then, though, Wilbekin has solidified his place as one of the best point guards in college basketball, and Walker has eased into his role as a player off the bench for the Gators.
In that time span for South Carolina, the Gamecocks have struggled, going 4-11 (not counting their loss to Florida), but one of those wins was an upset over then-No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday. That may give South Carolina some much-needed momentum heading into this game to potentially give the Gators a run for their money and break the five-game win streak Florida owns in this series.
Florida’s probable starters include senior forwards Will Yeguete and Casey Prather, senior center Patric Young, senior guard Wilbekin and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II. South Carolina will likely start freshman forward Demetrius Henry, sophomore forwards Michael Carrera and Mindaugas Kacinas, freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell and senior guard Brenton Williams.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Catch the game on TV through ESPNU or on the radio through Gator IMG Sports Network and Country 103.7 The Gator.