Florida basketball comes home to take on Mississippi State

The Gators can improve to 3-3 in conference play with a win over the Bulldogs

Jan 16, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr. (1) moves the ball
Jan 16, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr. (1) moves the ball / Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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Florida basketball is coming off a good win on the road against the Missouri Tigers, and now they come home to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday night.

Both of these teams have had similar starts to the season. The Gators are 12-6 overall and 2-3 in conference play, while Miss St sits at 13-5 and 2-3 in the SEC.

Florida has been struggling to find consistent footing so far in SEC play, and hasn't been able to win consecutive games yet.

The game tips off at 8:30 pm on the SEC Network.

If they can defend home court tonight, they'll win back-to-back games and set themselves up well for the last week of January.

Florida basketball: Carry the momentum over

The biggest problem for the Gators so far is that they haven't been able to sustain much momentum, both within games and from day to day.

It seems like every time they go on a run, a bad turnover follows. Or after a good win, they come out sluggish and drop the next game.

Tonight, that needs to get fixed for Todd Golden and the Gators.

The biggest key for Florida to win tonight is to play up at their pace. The Gators have been playing in high-scoring games, putting up 84.8 points per game and allowing 76. Meanwhile, Miss St has been playing slower, low-scoring games, scoring 74.9 and allowing 65.7.

If Florida can speed the Bulldogs up and make them play at their tempo, they'll have the advantage early on tonight.

The Gators are 3.5-point favorites and -165 on the money line. ESPN's FPI gives Florida a 68.4% chance to take home a win tonight.

This game is a big one for Florida. If they win it, they can start to get some momentum rolling and try to become the team we all thought they could be in the preseason.

But if the Gators struggle and drop another home game, we'll be right back to square one.