Photo by Morgan Searles during 2013 contest Who:
#1 Florida Gators :GoGata: When:
Saturday, March 1, 3:00pm (central time) Where:
Stephen C O'Connell Center "The O-Dome" (12,000-59th NCAA) How:
TV:CBS, Radio: 98.1FM
It's been an up and down season for the Tigers. With the season on the line, LSU heads to the O-Dome where Florida has yet to lose a game this season. However, Lately, they have let teams stay close. Each of their last 3 games have been decided by less than 5 points (one at home vs Auburn).
LSU recently played their best game on the road this season but still fell to Kentucky at Rupp by a point in overtime. Still, it was evident that it gave the Tigers confidence that they can get it done on the road. LSU will have to put it all together this Saturday going against arguably the most complete team in the country.
Florida leads the SEC in Offensive and Defensive Efficiency scoring 1.17 points per possession while only allowing 0.93 points per possession.
Interestingly, these two teams have some very interesting battles to look at: Tempo:
Florida is the second slowest team in the SEC averaging only 61.4 possessions per game, while LSU is the second fastest team in the SEC averaging 70.4 possessions per game. #BlockParty:
LSU averages blocking 15.1% of 2 point shots in the SEC (1st) while Florida only gets 8.1% of their own shots blocked (1st). eFG%:
Florida is first in the SEC in effective FG% (weights 3pt % 1.5x due to extra points) with a 51.9% clip while LSU is in second with a 50.1%.
Certainly worth noting, this game will feature the best matchup of experienced post players in any SEC game this season. Florida's Patric Young (6'9" 240 Sr) has been one of the best big men in the SEC for the last three years. Same with LSU's Johnny O'Bryant (6'9" 256 Jr). Young is averaging 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds , and shoots 54.8% from the field. He also looks like he could beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestling contest. O'Bryant averages 15.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and shoots 49.7% from the field.
It will be interesting to see if Florida tries to single cover O'Bryant on the post with Young. While Young has the build, O'Bryant really shines when you don't bring the double. Last team to try single covering the big man was UK where O'Bryant tallied 29 points.
Florida also has one of the premier PG's in the country with Scottie Wilbekin. The 6'2" senior averages 13.5 points, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and shoots 37.8% from three. He is a dynamic guard who loves getting the ball inside but can really shoot it from deep. The Gainesville native will make it tough for any press to be successful against the Gators.
Overall the Florida Gators start 4 seniors and have been to three straight elite eights. They will be a tough out even if LSU plays their best basketball, but the opportunity is exactly what LSU needs at this point of the season. With only 3 regular season games remaining, LSU needs to make a splash on the national stage and beating the #1 team in the country would very well do that. Prediction:
LSU 62, Florida 64