The Arkansas Razorbacks and Florida Gators face off for the 35th time on Wednesday night inside of Bud Walton Arena at 7:30 on the SEC Network. The Razrobacks have really struggle against the Gators as of late but put a halt to Florida’s 8 game winning streak that dated back to February 23, 2013 until January 17, 2018. Besides winning the first five games against the Gators, it has been very rare to find a victory over Florida since then, with only 7 victories since then. Arkansas and Florida split last seasons meetings, the most recent game coming in the SEC Tournament where Daniel Gafford performed another windmill dunk to the Razorback fans delight and Gator fans astonishment.
Arkansas: 10-3 (1-0)
Florida: 8-5 (0-1)
Coach vs Coach:
Mike White is in his fourth season at the helm of the Gator program racking up a 77-42 record. White is 260-178 overall as a head coach.
Mike Anderson is in his eighth season at Arkansas an has compiled a 161-89 record. Anderson is 361-187 overall in his three head coaching stops and is one of only 9 division one head coaches to never have a losing record.
What They Said:
Over the past three seasons, Arkansas native, KeVaughn Allen, has ran roughshod over the Razorbacks every chance he has received thus far. His season averages are dim until the light comes on and Arkansas is on the schedule. In six matchups, Allen averages 15.5 points per game, almost five points higher than his career average of 10.8. Allen’s career high versus Arkansas is 28. This will be Allen’s final regualr season game against the Razorbacks. In the press conference Monday, Adrio Bailey and Jalen Harris were asked about Allen’s success against the Razorbacks. “I ain’t worried about him,” said Bailey. “No, I havent seen him play a lot in person,” replied Harris. Will he make another triumphant return to the Natural State or will the Arkansas defense humble him?
“The Florida Gators are coming in here. They’re a hard nosed, athletic team. Great perimeter players. Another opportunity for us to go out and continue to get better,” said Anderson in his opening statement of the press conference. “They have a young man that played in the stat of Arkansas, Kevaughn Allen. He had a big game last time in here. Last time we played them was the SEC tournament. We were fortunate to get a win there, but that has nothing to do with this game here.”
“Our bench play is really staritng to show itself and I think that’s going to be a strength of our basketball team. Defense has to be engaged. Florida has a lot of shooters. they do a really good job of spreading and attacking. We have to keep them off the boards, theyre a very athletic team,” said Anderson.
“I was really impressed with team rebounds,” said Anderson. “THose are those long rebounds.”
“(Andrew Nembhard) is a really good player. Big guard. He’s really crafty with the basketball. Gets those other guys involved. Really important to their basketball team,” Anderson said.
As it goes for the recent success of Florida in this series, Mike Anderson said,”They’ve just won games. that’s all. We’ve won some, they’ve won some. This game has nothing to do with what took place last year. They’ve won national championships. Since I’ve been there here, I think the games we’ve played them, we’ve been right there. They came here and stole one a couple of years ago. Been some great games. I think our program is a very good program and there’s is a really good program.”
So far this season, Florida is averaging 70.8 points per game but only allows an average of 60.7 points per game. The last time Arkansas played a solid defensive squad at Bud Walton, Georgia Tech came in and dismantled Arkansas and did not allow the Razorbacks to get in a rhythm offensively or on defense. Arkansas hopes to have done away with the less than stellar home court performances.
Florida Statistic Leaders:
Points: KeVaughn Allen 10.3
Rebounds: Kevarrius Hayes 6.2
Assists: Andrew Nembherd 5.8
Steals: K. Allen 1.7
Blocks: K. Hayes 2.2
3 point percentage: Keith Stone 45.2%
FT percentage: K. Allen 81.3%
2 point percentage: K. Hayes 70.6%
Minutes per game: A. Nembherd 30.5
Arkansas Statistic Leaders:
Points: Daniel Gafford 17.0
Rebounds: D. Gafford 9.5
Assists: Jalen Harris 6.8
Steals: Isaiah Joe 1.8
Blocks: D. Gafford 2.2
3 point percentage: I. Joe 45%
FT percentage: Mason Jones 79.2%
2 point percentage: D. Gafford 64%
Minutes per game: J. Harris 30.5
Keys to the Game:
1. Arkansas must rebound well and stop second chance points.
Until the Texas A&M game, Arkansas had not rebounded the ball well on defense or offense. Florida is a physical, half court team that does not hurry up on offense and does not shoot a lot of threes. Gafford, Bailey, Chaney and Osabuien must play lights out and keep Hayes off the board.
2. Stop being complacent with shot selection.
Too many times under Anderson, when Arkansas struggles to shoot, they settle for long two’s and three point shots. Mason Jones missed his first eight three point tries on Saturday before finishing 3-11. Leave the shooting to Joe. Do not live and die by the three!
3. Protect home court.
Arkansas lost two nonconference home games for the first time since 2009 under former coach, John Pelphrey. Hopefully, Arkansas will contain Florida’s Allen and protect Bud Walton Arena in the SEC home opener.
Who has the edge? It looks like a pretty even matchup this season in Fayetteville. Hopefully, Hog fans can enjoy a victory tomorrow night and see the start of a new winning streak against the Gators.