Florida A&M (1-5) at (23) Florida (5-1)
Tuesday, December 2nd, 7:00 p.m. (et).
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: O'Connell Center (12,000) -- Gainesville, Florida. Television: Local. Home Record: Florida A&M 0-0, Florida 3-0. Away Record: Florida A&M 0-4, Florida 0-0. Neutral Record: Florida A&M 1-1, Florida 2-1. Conference Record: Florida A&M 0-0, Florida 0-0. Series Record: Florida leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: The Florida Gators welcome the Florida A&M Rattlers to Gainesville for a non-conference clash this evening.
A member of the MEAC, Florida A&M enters this evening's tilt as a major underdog. The Rattlers are just 1-5 overall, and they are coming off an 86-61 loss to Arkansas, a team from Florida's Southeastern Conference. They were also crushed by Alabama of the SEC, 89-48, two weeks ago.
Florida has won its last two outings to improve to 5-1 overall, as the lone loss came against an outstanding Syracuse squad on a neutral court. On Sunday, the Gators cruised past UMKC in an 86-65 final. Last season, Florida started strong before struggling against SEC competition and missing the NCAA Tournament. Billy Donovan is hoping for better results from his team in 2008-09.
Florida has won all nine of its all-time meetings with Florida A&M, including a 91-52 romp over the Rattlers last season.
There is only one player on the Florida A&M roster who is averaging double figures in scoring through the first six games of the season. Dale Hughes is netting 10.3 ppg, and that average is highly unlikely to warrant a double team from the Gators this evening. In the loss to Arkansas last time out, Brandon Bryant paced the Rattlers with 16 points. Hughes pitched in 15 points off the bench, and Lamar Twitty finished with 12 points. Unfortunately, Florida A&M connected on only 34.8 percent of its field goal attempts in the contest and shot 8-of-35 from three-point range. Also, the club was outscored 28-5 from the foul line and outrebounded by a 51-30 margin, two obvious contributing factors in the loss.
Nick Calathes leads Florida with 16.0 ppg, and the versatile guard is dishing out 6.3 apg to go along with 15 steals. Alex Tyus checks in with 13.5 ppg, and he is shooting 63 percent from the floor. As for Dan Werner, he rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 12.5 ppg. The Gators are netting 80.0 ppg through six outings while allowing 67.3 ppg to the opposition. Tyus was outstanding in the victory over UMKC on Sunday, as he scored 25 points on 10- of-13 shooting from the floor. He also pulled down eight rebounds in the clash and blocked a pair of shots. Chandler Parsons added 17 points off the bench, while Erving Walker posted 13 points and nine assists in a reserve role. Calathes had nine point and six assists, as he didn't need to be overly aggressive in the blowout.
Expect Calathes to be strong as usual, and for Florida to take care of business this evening with a resounding home win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 84, Florida A&M 67
12/02 10:31:15 ET