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December 17, 2013

Hoops Gator Gameday: #16 Florida vs. #15 Memphis

GAME DAY LINKS: Notebook: Walker is not a savior | 5-star Walker enrolls at UF | UF-UM Game Day Thread

No. 15 Memphis Tigers

vs. No. 16 Florida Gators
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 - 9:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network, Sirius/XM 91

Memphis Tigers (7-1, 0-0 American)
Streak: Won 6
Last Game: Defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 73-59
G Geron Johnson (Has 31 assists but shoots just 36 percent from field) Sr. 6-3 203
G Michael Dixon Jr. (Missouri transfer averaging 10.8 PPG) Sr. 6-1 200
G Joe Jackson (Leads Tigers with 15 PPG and 3.8 APG) Sr. 6-1 174
F Austin Nichols (Former five-star prospect averaging 10.8 PPG) Fr. 6-8 212
F Shaq Goodwin (Primary big man has 14 blocks, averages 13.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG) So. 6-9 242

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (7-2, 0-0 SEC)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated No. 18 Kansas 67-61
G Scottie Wilbekin (SEC Player of the Week had career game against KU) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (Shooting 52.2 percent from 3 and 50 percent inside the arc) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (Was 1 for 5 from the field but scored 12 points against KU) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (Averaging 4.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (Has had at least 10 points and six rebounds in five games) Sr. 6-9 240

Strong backcourt defense

Unlike Kansas, Memphis is heavy on experience with four senior guards who average at least 21.5 minutes per game. The Tigers aren't particularly dangerous from the perimeter - 33.3 percent from beyond the arc - but they are balanced in how they are able to distribute the ball with guards who can both drive and feed their young frontcourt players.
Attack Goodwin

Jackson might be the unquestioned leader of the Tigers, but Florida is likely confident in the match-up it has between him and Wilbekin. Goodwin will be the player Memphis tries to push the ball to in order to set the pace of the game and establish an inside presence. Young must be able to account for this while staying out of trouble, and the Gators' other frontcourt players need to test Goodwin's defensive prowess at the other end.
Keep developing Dorian Finney-Smith

When he's on his game, there is no greater match-up advantage for the Gators than Finney-Smith. He made four 3-pointers against Kansas, but Billy Donovan would like to see a more balanced and aggressive offensive performance out of him. Finney-Smith will need to recognize his chances to drive the lane against Memphis.

Billy Donovan on Memphis:

"A team that's got some mixtures of some young guys but really in the backcourt a really senior-laden, talented team, shoot threes, puts it down, very aggressive on defense, a terrific transition offensive team, very explosive, guard very well. This is an outstanding team we'll play.''
Donovan on if he knew Jim Valvano:

"I knew him a little bit, obviously being from New York. He coached at Iona. There were some times out on Long Island a little bit. For me, it wasn't like this close relationship, but I obviously knew him at that point. I think right when I got into coaching was right about the time when he started to move into the booth and he was doing some ESPN stuff."

Florida 72-60: The overall match-up draws similarities to the game Florida played against Connecticut that ended in a buzzer-beater win for the Huskies. The difference? A neutral site in Madison Square Garden, and Joe Jackson is good but he is not Shabazz Napier. Florida is healthy and looking for another statement win for a national television audience to close out a grueling four-game stretch. What better place to do it than the Jimmy V Classic?

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