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March 14, 2014

Gator Gameday: Florida vs. Missouri

GAME DAY LINKS: Gators nearly sweep SEC awards | UF-MIZZOU Game Day Thread

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 8 Missouri
Friday, March 14, 2014 - 1:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPNU / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network
Missouri Tigers (22-10, 9-9 Southeastern Conference)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated No. 9 Texas A&M 91-83, 2OT
G Jabari Brown (SEC's leading scorer at 19.7 PPG) Jr. 6-5 214
G Jordan Clarkson (second on teams shooting 45.1 percent from the field) Jr. 6-5 193
G Earnest Ross (scored 24 in team-high 48 minutes during opening-round defeat of Texas A&M) Fr. 6-6 215
F Johnathan Williams III (grabbed 15 rebounds in defeat of Texas A&M) Fr. 6-9 223
F Ryan Rosburg (his 98 fouls are 11 more than any other Tiger) So. 6-10 252

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (29-2, 18-0 SEC)
Streak: Won 23
Last Game: Defeated Kentucky 84-65
G Scottie Wilbekin (Named SEC Player of the Year on Tuesday) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (shot 15 for 29 with 46 points in last two games) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (looking to string together consecutive double-figure games for first time since Feb. 15-19) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (seven rebounds against UK was most since Feb. 19) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (Named SEC Player of the Year on Tuesday) Sr. 6-9 240

Say it with me: per-i-me-ter de-fense

Opponents are shooting 31.9 (15 for 47) percent from the 3-point line in Florida's last three games. That figure is slightly below the opponent average on the season of 35.1 percent. Missouri just happens to have one of the SEC's best 3-point shooters and scorers in Jabari Brown. The junior currently stands at third in the SEC in 3-point percentage at 41.7. Michael Frazier II happens to lead the category at 44.1. Missouri is not capable of getting into a frontcourt battle with the Gators. If the Tigers are in the game, it will be because Brown and Jordan Clarkson got hot.
Attack the boards

The Tigers may not be much for scoring up front, but their overall rebounding numbers on the year are extremely similar to those of the Gators. In the last meeting between these two teams, Florida narrowly left with a 33-32 rebounding advantage and a 68-58 victory, despite a three-point halftime deficit at home. That came after the Gators did not appear locked in during the first 20 minutes but came out rejuvenated following one of Billy Donovan's many halftime speeches this season.
Get Casey Prather going

After an incredibly hot start to the season, Florida's leading scorer hasn't always been able to string together big offensive games as of late. He showed flashes of early-season prowess during a 15-point day against Kentucky. Anytime there are athletic mismatches in the front court, spectators should be put on Prather watch. After being limited in the last meeting between these two teams, a fast start to the SEC Tournament would not be surprising.

Donovan on why this team has been so successful:

"What's made them special is their willingness to be unselfish, their willingness to forgive, because when you spend as much time as we do there's going to be issues in your team, guys are going to upset guys, there's going to be things that bother them. To be able to put those things behind and really get to a place where they really care about each other. The thing I'm most proud about this team is there's an unselfishness and a care for the next person, and to me that's one of the most valuable lesson these guys can possibly learn while they're in college."
Wilbekin on shooting in a football dome:

"I don't think there's that much of a difference. If there is, it's in your head. But shots go in sometimes, sometimes they don't. Last year in Dallas, a lot of the shots in warmups went down and the first game they went down, but against Michigan they just weren't falling."

Florida 76-60: Something has happened in the last three games that could come as a scare to teams who plan on coming across the Gators in the near future. Long known as a defense-first squad, Florida is shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from beyond the arc during that span. The line between the Gators being good and the Gators being unbeatable has been the ability to score in volume. Today is an opportunity for the Gators to set the tone for the postseason and show that kind of scoring is here to stay. If it indeed is, there's not much Missouri or anyone else can do to harm this team.

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