Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Look to Build on Win; Florida Plays Host to Arkansas Team That Leads League in Scoring

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Look to Build on Win; Florida Plays Host to Arkansas Team That Leads League in Scoring

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson didn't shy away from the significance of playing the University of Florida on Saturday, one day short of Feb. 1.

"Every game is bigger from now on," Anderson said earlier this week on the SEC coaches teleconference.

The game is a matchup between two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions.

The Gators (11-9, 4-3) won an ugly 52-50 decision at Alabama on Tuesday to break a three-game losing streak, but it did little to ease the doubts about UF's anemic offense. The Razorbacks (16-4, 5-2) beat Tennessee 69-64 and have their best record through 20 games since going 17-3 to begin the 1997-98 season.

Arkansas is vying for its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2007-2008, when the Hogs were coached by current Gators assistant John Pelphrey. Anderson is one of only 11 Division I coaches who have 10 or more years of experience without ever having a losing season (he's been coaching for 12 years) and has eight 20-victory seasons. If UA can topple the Gators at home for the first time against coach Billy Donovan - the Hogs are 0-9 against Donovan at the O'Connell Center - it might prove to be a turning point should the Hogs go on to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Arkansas plays only four more teams that currently have winning SEC records among its final 10 games, with six of the games coming against South Carolina (1-6 in the SEC), Mississippi State (2-5), Auburn (2-5) and Missouri (1-6).

Winning 20 or more before the SEC Tournament would appear to be within easy reach, should Arkansas continue trends such as leading the SEC in scoring (81.7 points per game), 3-point percentage (.371), 3-pointers per game (7.2), assists per game (17.2), turnovers per game by opponents (15.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-1.5).

Arkansas also is second in the league in steals (7.9 per game), turnover margin (plus-3.9) offensive rebounds (13.7) and field-goal percentage (.459). Sophomore forward Bobby Portis, one of the leading candidates for SEC MVP, tops the conference in scoring (17.5 points per game) and shooting percentage (.561) and is fourth in rebounding (8. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.