Fayetteville, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - The 10th-ranked Florida Gators put a six-game win streak on the line when they invade Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon for an SEC showdown with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Billy Donovan's Gators continue to climb the national polls as they have run out to a 12-2 overall record. Florida hasn't lost since a one-point heartbreaker at Connecticut back on Dec. 2 (65-64) and has reeled off six straight victories since, including opening up SEC play on Wednesday with a 74-58 blasting of South Carolina.
Mike Anderson's Razorbacks have flown under the radar this season but are playing extremely well at an impressive 11-3 on the year. The team did open SEC action this week with a 69-53 road loss at Texas A&M, but the team had won seven straight before that. Arkansas is a flawless 9-0 at home this season.
Florida holds a 16-11 series advantage against Arkansas, thanks to wins in six of the last seven meetings. However, the Gators are just 4-8 all-time on the road against the Razorbacks.
The Gators are fairly efficient offensively, shooting .467 from the floor, but the team is only averaging a modest 71.9 ppg. Florida makes up for those numbers by playing stellar defense, limiting the opposition this year to just 58.7 ppg, while owning a +6.1 rebounding edge and a +3.0 turnover margin. Forward Casey Prather headlines a quartet of double-digit scorers on the roster with 17.0 ppg. Scottie Wilbekin is next in line at 12.3 ppg, followed by Michael Frazier and Patric Young, who tally 11.6 and 10.9 ppg, respectively.
Florida played well at both ends of the floor against South Carolina, limiting the Gamecocks to a mere 58 points, while forcing 21 turnovers. The Gators dominated play in the paint, outscoring USC 40-16 inside, helping UF shoot a scorching .578 from the floor in the game. Wilbekin led the team with a game- high 17 points. Young and Prather chimed in with 13 points apiece in the victory.
Arkansas will test Florida's staunch defense in this one, as the Razorbacks come into the game averaging a robust 84.7 ppg on .485 shooting efficiency. There aren't any gaudy scoring averages on the roster, but Arkansas does possess a deep scoring pool, with four players currently averaging double figures. Michael Qualls has been in and out of the starting lineup and leads the team at 12.9 ppg. Bobby Portis has been a fixture as a starter and is a close second with 12.4 ppg. Alandise Harris and Rashad Madden round out the foursome with 10.4 and 10.3 ppg, respectively.
It was a rare offensive slump for Arkansas this week, as the team was held to a season-low 53 points in the loss to Texas A&M. The Razorbacks just couldn't find their stride on the offensive end, trailing at the half (35-33) for the first time in seven games. The second half proved to be even worse, as Arkansas netted a season-low 20 points in the frame. Madden was the only player to reach double digits in the loss, netting 12 points. Coty Clarke just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.