Florida basketball: Gators look for a bounce back game in Starkville

Florida basketball had a brutal loss earlier in the week to Texas A&M. And there really isn’t any way to sugarcoat it. The Gators shot a hearty 26.2% from the field and never lead. Not great.

But they have a chance to bounce back and get positive momentum back tomorrow night.

The Gators travel to Starkville to take on a Mississippi State team that started out strong but has struggled in conference play. They started out 11-0 before dropping six of their last seven, with their one win coming against Ole Miss.

The Bulldogs boast a defense that only allows 58.2 points per game, but that number is helped out a lot by their games against schools you’ve never heard of early in the season.

In SEC play, teams are scoring 69.3 points against them. Granted, this is still a good number to be at, but the defense isn’t as good as it seems.

Miss. St’s biggest threat is big man Tolu Smith. He leads the team in points per game (13.8) and rebounds per game (7.9) and is the only player for the Bulldogs scoring in double figures.

If there’s one guy that can stop Smith, it’s Colin Castleton. He didn’t have a very good game defensively against the Aggies. He did have six blocks, but he allowed Julius Marble to score 19 points.

He’ll be dialed in and ready for a bounce-back game defending the rim. He’ll also look to continue scoring at a high rate, averaging 16 points over his last three games.

The key for the Gators offensively is pretty clear. Just make shots. Aside from Castleton, Myreon Jones had the highest amount of shots made, with three. He was 3-12.

Nobody else on the Gators made more than two shots. Riley Kugel was the only guy on the bench who made a shot.

All we need is some positive regression this weekend. It’s impossible to shoot that badly consistently.

Right?

If the Gators can win this road test against a solid Mississippi State team, they’ll be able to recalibrate and get some positive momentum going.

Keep up with Florida basketball at Hail Florida Hail.