Florida faces Arkansas in SEC 2nd round Thursday

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Florida needs senior guard KeVaughn Allen to play way better than he did to close the regular season. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

No. 9 seed Arkansas (17-14, 8-10) vs. No. 8 seed Florida (17-14, 9-9)

WHAT: Southeastern Conference Tourney Second Round, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee; Thursday, 1 p.m. EDT.                                                                                   TV: SEC Network. RADIO: 103.7-FM                                                                      BOTTOM LINE: The only meeting between the teams this season came on Jan. 9, when the Gators shot 31 percent from the field en route to a six-point victory.
FAB FRESHMEN: Florida’s Andrew Nembhard, Keyontae Johnson and Noah Locke have combined to account for 37 percent of the team’s scoring this season and have scored 34 percent of all Gators points over the last five games.
ACCURATE ALLEN: KeVaughn Allen has connected on 32.9 percent of the 164 3-pointers he’s attempted and has gone 2 for 13 over the last three games. He’s also made 88.2 percent of his free throws this season.WINLESS WHEN: Arkansas is 0-8 when scoring fewer than 67 points and 17-6 when scoring at least 67.

WINNING WHEN: Arkansas is a perfect 6-0 when the team blocks at least seven opposing shots. The Razorbacks are 11-14 this season when they block fewer than seven shots.

DID YOU KNOW? Florida has committed a turnover on just 17.8 percent of its possessions this season, which is the second-lowest rate among all SEC teams. The Gators have turned the ball over only 11.6 times per game this season.

BUBBLE REPORT: The SEC sent a league-record eight teams to the NCAA Tournament a year ago and hopes to match that this season. First, the SEC needs Florida (17-14, 9-9) to beat Arkansas (17-14, 8-10) on Thursday after the Gators lost their last three games. Alabama’s hopes also have thinned after a three-game skid.

“If we weren’t able to have success, I’d feel very uneasy for a lot of reasons, probably the biggest being we’re coming off a loss,” Florida coach Mike White said. “I’m not going to worry about bracketology.”

— The Associated Press

8 COMMENTS

  1. Some years the “team” is better than others. It usually a combination of skills and attitude that make or break a season. Looking at this group they have had their challenges with leadership, mental toughness and conditioning. Seems they run out of gas later in the game or consecutive tough games.
    I’m pretty pumped up about the future of the team, great freshmen on the floor this year and a super talented incoming class. But, we need to recruit some good 4 and 5 guys to play the post. if not, its always gonna be live and die by the team shooting percentage for that game. Sure miss guys like Patrick Young…

  2. It is so important for this team to make the tourney for the young players. They will likely be one and done with a tough seed if they make it. Who cares. The young guys get the experience of traveling to the event. The hype surrounded by it. And just the overall feel of being involved in the big dance. Next year when they have more pieces and are an overall better team they will not be wide eyed in round 1. This years frosh will be next years veterans with a tourney game under their belt.

    So let’s get it together, play great defense, beat the Piggies and go play some more basketball.

    • I agree, Pompano. Your point about the freshmen getting experience in the Dance is spot on. Some argue it would be better to make the NIT and possibly play more games. Well, there’s no guarantee they’d play more games in the NIT, and I don’t think that’s what they need. The seniors won’t be back and the freshmen already have enough game experience. This isn’t like football, where the addition of a bowl game represents a significant portion of your season and adds, supposedly, valuable practice time. This team needs more talented players, players come through recruiting, and recruiting is benefited most by making the Dance. No player signs with a school because they consistently make the NIT.