Georgia (6-7) at (11) Florida (10-2)
Wednesday, January 9, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stephen C. O'Connell Center (10,000) -- Gainesville, Florida. Television: CSS. Home Record: Georgia 6-3, Florida 6-0. Away Record: Georgia 0-2, Florida 2-2. Neutral Record: Georgia 0-2, Florida 2-0. Conference Record: Georgia 0-0, Florida 0-0. Series Record: Florida leads, 106-97.
GAME NOTES: The 11th-ranked Florida Gators finally jump into conference play, as they welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Gainesville on Wednesday for an SEC showdown at the O'Connell Center.
Billy Donovan's Gators closed out their non-league slate on Sunday with a 79-58 drubbing of Yale. The victory was the third in the last four games and moved Florida to a solid 10-2 on the year.
Mark Fox's Bulldogs have struggled with consistency this year, as evidenced by the team's lackluster 6-7 overall record. It has been a season of streaks for Georgia though and the team is on a roll heading into league play, having won the last four games, including a 52-41 decision against George Washington last Friday.
Florida leads 106-97 in the all-time series with Georgia and has won 15 of the last 18 meetings overall. The Gators have more wins over Georgia than any other team.
Nemi Djurisic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored 17 points, as Georgia posted its fourth consecutive win with an 11-point victory against the Colonials. John Florveus played a role in the win as well, grabbing a career- high 10 rebounds to lead the team on the glass. The team shot a solid .487 from the floor, thanks to a scorching .647 in the second half (11-of-17) to make up for an alarming 25 turnovers.
The team's lack of scoring was nothing new, as Georgia heads into SEC action netting a mere 60.5 ppg, doing so on just .414 shooting. The defensive effort has been much better, holding foes under 40 percent shooting (.386), including .298 from behind the arc. Caldwell-Pope is far and away the top offensive threat, averaging a steady 17.5 ppg. The scoring pool dries up after that with Djurisic next in line with a distant 8.5 ppg.
Florida knows a thing or two about defensive tenacity, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense (52.7 ppg), while holding opponents to just .368 shooting (11th nationally). In addition, the Gators are enjoying a +8.6 rebounding margin and recording 7.4 steals per game. The team has had success shooting the basketball as well, delivering on 48.3 percent from the field overall. Four Gators are currently averaging double figures, led by Kenny Boynton's 13.8 ppg. Erik Murphy is a close second at 12.1 ppg, while Mike Rosario and Patric Young round out the top threats with 11.8 and 10.8 ppg, respectively.
Boynton tied his career-high with 28 points, as Florida rolled over Yale this past weekend. Will Yeguete added 14 points to the cause, while Rosario checked in with 13 points. Freshman Scottie Wilbekin doled out a career-high 10 assists in the win. Florida converted 60 percent from the floor overall (30- of-50), including 9-of-17 from behind the arc (52.9 percent).
The Bulldogs lack the depth to get the job done in Gainesville. Florida not only has the offensive weapons to cruise to victory here, but will handle Georgia defensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 74, Georgia 59
01/09 10:48:16 ET