Heated Sunshine State rivals are set to square off on Wednesday night in Tallahassee, as the Florida State Seminoles play host to the sixth-ranked Florida Gators.
After a perfect 6-0 start to the season, Florida has risen to No. 6 in the latest AP poll, its highest position since the end of the 2006-07 campaign. The Gators earned perhaps their most impressive win in their latest game, defeating Marquette, 82-49, as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.
Florida State came into the year with high expectations and the No. 25 ranking, but it has disappointed with three losses in its first seven games. After rebounding from a season-opening loss to South Alabama (76-71) with a four-game winning streak, the Seminoles have dropped back-to-back home games to Minnesota (77-68) and Mercer (61-56).
This will be the 64th meeting between these two programs, with Florida holding a convincing 41-22 advantage, which includes an 82-64 home win last season.
Not only did Florida shoot greater than 50 percent from the field in its 33- point rout of Marquette, but it held an opponent under 50 points for the fourth time in six games, which has resulted in the nation's second-lowest scoring defense (48.5 ppg). Six UF players scored in double figures in the victory, led by Michael Frazier who tallied 17 points off the bench. Will Yeguete, Mike Rosario and Casey Prather all netted 11 points, while Erik Murphy and Patric Young chipped in 10 points apiece. One of the few players to not reach double digits was Kenny Boynton, who has been the Gators' leading scorer on the season with 14.5 ppg, albeit on just 41.3 percent field goal shooting. Murphy scores 12.3 ppg on 44 percent three-point shooting, and Rosario (11.0 ppg) has missed just two of his 21 free throw attempts (.905). Young (10.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg) and Yeguete (7.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) round out one of the deepest starting lineups in the nation. In addition to outscoring opponents by more than 25 ppg, Florida sports impressive rebounding (plus-11.2) and turnover (plus-4.2) margins.
Florida State played very well at the defensive end against Mercer, holding it to just 37.5 percent field goal shooting and forcing 15 turnovers, but it spoiled that effort with its worst offensive performance of the year, shooting 35.4 percent from the field in the loss. The lone player to reach double figures for FSU was Okaro White, who had 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. It was an uncharacteristically poor shooting night for the Seminoles, who average 75.1 ppg on 47.6 percent from the field, including greater than 39 percent from three-point range. Preseason All-ACC selection Michael Snaer averages a team-high 14.1 ppg and grabs 5.6 rpg, but he has disappointed with his field goal percentage (.388) and turnovers (22). White logs 13.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg, while Terrance Shannon scores 10.7 ppg and hauls in a team-high 6.9 rpg.