Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Game Preview - Florida

It's not easy writing a preview with one eye and watching the football national championship with the other, but tomorrow is a huge game for our basketball team so duty calls. The program will be looking for its first 3-0 start in conference play since the 1986-87 season. Florida will enter this game as the 23rd ranked team in the current AP Top 25 poll. Tip time is 8 PM CT. The game will be televised on ESPNU. I encourage all of you in the area to head out to Coleman and support this team in what should be a very challenging game.

                                             Alabama                                                   Florida

67.9 PPG 78.9

61.1 OPP 66.5

42.5 FG% 45.8

39.5 OPP 42.8

48.4 EFG% 51.7

46 OPP 48.1

31.1 3PT% 35.5

34.5 OPP 33.2

65.6 FT% 71.8

66.8 OPP 70.3

35.7 FTRATE 41.6

32.9 OPP 30.1

39.1 RPG 35.8

32.7 OPP 34.1

33.7 OREB% 35.3

25 OPP 32.2

13.5 TOPG 11.2

14.9 OPP 16.5

19.9 TO% 16

22.1 OPP 23.7

71 KenPom Ranking 14

My Two Cents: It's a steep hill to climb for this Alabama team to put themselves in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid following a non-conference schedule that produced no "quality" wins, but a win over a top 25 (and top 3 RPI) team would certainly be a step in the right direction. The Gators aren't a flashy team, but they are efficient (top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom). Alabama's recent success has been sparked by a surge in their play on the defensive end, but they'll need to be good in all phases to beat this Florida team.

Players to Watch: This team is getting it done by committee. Maybe the most important key to Alabama's four-game winning streak has been their work on the glass. Multiple guys (Braxton, Dazon, Bola, Jimmie, Riley and Donta) have all contributed to the rebounding improvement. That will need to continue if Alabama has any shot at winning this game. It also wouldn't hurt if this team could have a rare good shooting night from 3.

KeVaughn Allen is shining in his second season in Gainesville. He leads the Gators in scoring (14.7), 3-pt pct. (42.7%) and FT pct (84.8%). In Alabama's first two conference game, they have limited the leading scorer for each team well below their average. The Gators can hurt you in a variety of ways so limiting Allen alone won't be enough, but it would be a good start.

Prediction: I'm drinking the post-football loss kool-aid (yes, I've been trying to write this damn post for five hours), but I'm going to pick our guys to get the big win. If Bama brings their defense they will have a chance to win most nights. Here's hoping Bama fans overcome the football hangover, and show up to cheer this team on. Alabama - 67 - Florida - 62. 

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