Published November 20, 2014
The Gators opened up the current trip with a 61-52 win at Alabama. The victory was the 20th of the season for Billy Donovan's squad, which had lost back-to- back games to Kentucky and Tennessee prior. With the win over the Crimson Tide. Florida is firmly entrenched in second place in the conference standings at 8-3, trailing only top-ranked Kentucky (11-0).
Arkansas is a little further down the SEC ladder at 5-6. It has been a tale of two seasons for the Razorbacks, who are winless on the road, but have recorded all 17 of their wins in Fayetteville. Arkansas has dropped three of its last four games (all on the road), including Wednesday's 77-58 rout at the hands of Tennessee.
Florida holds a 14-10 advantage in the all-time series with Arkansas thanks to wins in four straight and seven of the last eight meetings.
Florida started off the season with four straight road losses, but has righted the ship of sorts with wins in three of the last four games outside of Gainesville. The win at Alabama recently was evidence of the team's growing confidence on the road, as the Gators put the defensive clamps on the Crimson Tide late, while forcing Alabama into 18 turnovers overall. Patric Young led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Erik Murphy and Bradley Beal added 14 points apiece in the win. Kenny Boynton had a quiet outing overall, struggling a bit from the floor (2-of-8), finishing with nine points.
Boyton has been a much more dynamic playmaker overall this season, averaging 17.2 ppg, while amassing an impressive 86 three-pointers made on .434 shooting from behind the arc. Perimeter depth comes in the form of Beal (14.3 ppg) and Erving Walker (11.7 ppg) who have combined for another 92 three-pointers. Young (11.0 ppg) and Murphy (10.3 ppg) provide the frontcourt balance for a team that is averaging an impressive 78.1 ppg.
The Razorbacks have not put up the offensive numbers as a team that Florida has, but that does not mean Arkansas is void of talent at that end of the floor. The team took a big hit with the season-ending injury of Marshawn Powell early on. Freshman BJ Young has taken on the leadership role at the offensive end and is a dangerous outside threat, averaging 14.5 ppg on an impressive .504 shooting. Mardracus Wade adds to the perimeter punch with 10.5 ppg, fueled by a sizzling .486 effort from behind the arc (52-of-107). Rickey Scott and Julysses Nobles give the team some options, with 9.4 and 8.9 ppg, respectively.
The Razorbacks were no match for the suddenly resurgent Volunteers this week, as they were downed by 19 points in Knoxville. Young led all scorers with 18 points, but only Hunter Mickelson provided any kind of support with 12 points off the bench, as Arkansas fell victim to a strong shooting Tennessee team that delivered on 56 percent from the floor, including an impressive 11-of-23 showing from behind the arc.