The Georgia Bulldogs (9-6; 01) and the Florida Gators will both be searching for their first conference win of the season when the two teams square off in Gainesville on Tuesday night. The Gators should be in a particularly nasty mood after suffering a 67-56 loss at Tennessee on Saturday in their first SEC game. Couple that with the fact that Georgia hasn’t won at the Stephen C. O’Connell center since 2002 and it should be pretty clear that the Dawgs have quite a challenge awaiting them.
The 56 points that Florida put up in Knoxville was their worst offensive output of the season and highly uncharacteristic of this Gator squad that has been scoring at a torrid pace so far this year. Florida ranks 6th in the nation with nearly 84 points per game, and they have been deadly from behind the arc where they are sinking just under 41% of their three-point attempts (11th in the country). The Gators are basically a well-oiled machine on offense, dishing out 17 team assists per contest (9th in the nation) and sporting an assist-to-turnover of 1.47, tying them for 6th in the country in that category.
All five of coach Billy Donovan’s starters are scoring in double-figures, but the strength of this Gator team resides in its backcourt, which may be tops in the SEC. Junior Kenny Boynton has gotten out to a phenomenal start this season, leading his team with 19.1 ppg and making over 45% of this three-point attempts.
Senior point guard Erving Walker has been his usual self, scoring 13.4 ppg to go along with 5.1 apg. Despite Walker’s small stature (5’8″) he is very good at driving the ball to the basket and drawing contact.
As if it wasn’t enough that Florida brought back the duo of Boynton and Walker this season, they also added a freshman sensation in guard Bradley Beal who is scoring 14.1 ppg and hauling down over 5 boards per contest.
Georgia Coach Mark Fox should have his team in a man defense for most of Tuesday since this hot-shooting Gator team would no doubt feast on the open looks that come against zone defense. The Dawgs’ will need to be physical and relentless on the defensive end if they hope to hang around in this game.
UGA is 1-2 in true road games this season, and Tuesday’s contest will mark the first SEC game away from Athens for the young Kentavious-Caldwell Pope.
Any thoughts on how Georgia can pull this one out?