Aggies and Gators meet in clash of ranked foes

One of the best matchups of the weekend pits ranked Florida Gators against the 22nd-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in the Orange Bowl Classic from Sunrise, Florida.

Texas A&M figures to play with confidence considering its current six-game winning streak, although it needs to be mentioned that the squad hasn't faced a ranked team to date. The Aggies are 8-1 overall and are coming off a 67-54 triumph over ULM, and seven of the nine games have taken place at home. They are 1-1 on a neutral court thus far.

As for Florida, it has won its last two games to move to 7-2 overall, and the club has been idle since a 90-69 decision over Rider on December 9. The Gators will certainly have their hands full when SEC play begins, as they will have to contend with the likes of Kentucky and Vanderbilt in their own division. Their only two losses to date came against Ohio State and Syracuse, two of the very best teams in the nation.

This game marks the third all-time meeting between Florida and Texas A&M, and both previous affairs took place in 1992, albeit in two different basketball seasons. The programs split those contests.

Through the first eight games, someone with the last name of Turner led Texas A&M in scoring every time out, as either Ray or Elston took the lead. In the team's most recent outing against ULM, it was Khris Middleton that led the charge with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. David Loubeau added 13 points and Elston Turner contributed 12 points for the Bulldogs, who got just three points from Ray Turner in the affair. Strong defense was key to the victory, as Texas A&M held ULM to 37.3 percent shooting from the field. Also key was an 18-5 edge in points from the foul line. Middleton has played just two games this season, but he is key to the team's success when healthy. Ray Turner is netting 13.0 ppg despite the shaky effort last time out, and Elston Turner provides `12.3 ppg. Loubeau contributes 11.1 ppg for the Aggies, who are netting 64.4 ppg while holding opponents to 51.4 ppg on 33.4 percent field goal efficiency.

Kenny Boynton has been tremendous for Florida this season, as the guard is pouring in 18.7 ppg on the strength of his 50 percent shooting from the floor. Star freshman Bradley Beal brings 15.1 ppg to the backcourt, and the fact that he is ripping down 6.6 rpg is quite impressive. Erving Walker checks in with 13.9 ppg and 5.1 apg, and Patric Young provides 11.6 ppg. The Gators are generating 86.8 ppg while holding opponents to 67.2 ppg, and they are outrebounding foes by 7.8 rpg as well. Boynton hit 5-of-9 three-pointers en route to 26 points in the romp over Rider last time out. Beal contributed 18 points in that affair, while Young and Walker netted 12 points apiece. Young grabbed 10 boards as well for UF, which finished with 25 points and only six turnovers.