Missouri gets its one and only regular season shot at the undefeated (in the SEC) Florida Gators Tuesday night. The Tigers, fresh off a home loss to Kentucky on Saturday, travel to Gainesville for a showdown with the third-ranked team in the entire country. For Billy Donovan and his Gators, the Tuesday showcase expects to be a challenge versus a very good Missouri team despite Vegas touting UF as 12-point home favorites.
There will be some awfully large college basketball players competing tomorrow evening. And this one promises to be as physical of a battle as you’ll see between two teams that love to shoot the three-pointer.
The road Tigers feature one of the highest-scoring trios in the country with Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross. The three average over 53 points per game combined and will need to hit the outside shot to neutralize the crazy crowd on the UF campus. While Ross is a bigger, stronger type of guard that plays with physicality, Brown and Clarkson are much more prototypical shooting and scoring guards. Jabari Brown is arguably the best shooter in the country (which I’ve certainly thrown out there with Brady Heslip, Ethan Wragge and likely a few others). Brown chucks the three at nearly 48 percent success. Tony Crisswell is a banger down low for the Tigers. The senior will be huge guarding Patric Young but freshman forward Johnathan Williams III may be the biggest key. Williams III will have the displeasure of guarding whatever other forward occupies the floor for the Gators. His ability to stay out of foul trouble and force the Florida bigs off the offensive boards may determine whether Mizzou competes in this game or not.
Florida may be the most dangerous team in the entire nation. The Gators boast different names from their top two spots in scoring, rebounding and assisting. And it doesn’t stop there. With Chris Walker now eligible and in the rotation, the Gators appear to have arguably the best eight man rotation in the nation from Casey Prather to Patric Young all the way down to Will Yeguette. Loaded with seniors, size and talent, the Gators would certainly be favored against any team in the country in their home building. The question becomes whether or not Mizzou can hang around long enough to keep this one close. I’m not so sure it will. But the Tigers’ chance of keeping up in the first 20 minutes seems awfully more likely.
Free Pick: Missouri First Half +7.5