Florida basketball: Gators can stay rolling vs East Carolina

Florida looks to make it three straight victories tonight to move to 7-3
Florida Gators guard Riley Kugel (2) and Merrimack College Jordan Derkack (4) scramble for the ball
Florida Gators guard Riley Kugel (2) and Merrimack College Jordan Derkack (4) scramble for the ball / Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA

Florida basketball is coming off of back-to-back wins over Merrimack and Richmond to re-establish some confidence after dropping some winnable games in November.

Tonight, they head to Lakeland to take on the 6-4 East Carolina Pirates and improve to 7-3 on the season, with only a handful of games left before SEC play begins.

The Gators play at 7:00 pm on the SEC Network.

Florida is a 15.5-point favorite heading into this one and should be able to shut down ECU on their way to another out-of-conference win.

Hopefully, Florida can avoid another slow start and dominate this one wire to wire.

Florida basketball: Stay composed

East Carolina isn't a very daunting matchup on paper, but they do a couple of things well. They're only allowing 70.4 points per game so far, and swipe away 7.7 steals every night as well.

If the Gators want to look like the better team for 40 minutes, they need to emphasize taking care of the ball, putting up good shots, and making strong passes. They struggled in that area at times against Virginia's elite defense, but ECU isn't Virginia.

The Gators will have to limit three scorers for ECU to keep the Pirates from putting up too many points. RJ Felton is their top scorer with 16.2 points per game, followed by Brandon Johnson at 14.6 and Ezra Ausar at 14.3.

One area the Gators should have no problem winning in is on the glass. Florida is averaging seven more rebounds per game than ECU is, and has already won the rebound battle by 20+ five times this season.

If Florida dominates the glass the way they have been and take care of the ball, this should be a stress free watch.