Florida Gators Basketball: Clemson Preview

What to know: #22 Florida Gators vs. Clemson Tigers

Game Information

When: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. (ET)

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

Records: Florida (6-3); Clemson (8-1)

Coaches: Mike White- 54-27 (3rd season at Florida), 155-67 (7th season overall); Brad Brownell- 132-104 (8th season at Clemson), 299-189 (16th season overall)

TV: FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports Florida

Streaming: FOX Sports Go App

Radio: Gator IMG Sports Network

Projected Starters

Florida

F Keith Stone (6-8, 245) Avg./Game: 5.9/2.8r
G Jalen Hudson (6-6, 192) Avg./Game: 19.1/4.2r
G Egor Koulechov (6-5, 205) Avg./Game: 16.1/6.9r
G KeVaughn Allen (6-2, 193) Avg./Game: 11.8/2.8r
G Chris Chiozza (6-0, 175) Avg./Game: 11.8/6.1a

Clemson

F Elijah Thomas (6-9, 237) Avg./Game: 12.1/8.8r
F Donte Grantham (6-8, 215) Avg./Game: 16.0/6.2r
G Marcquise Reed (6-3, 189) Avg./Game: 13.8/5.0r
G Shelton Mitchell (6-3, 194) Avg./Game: 12.9/5.0a
G Gabe DeVoe (6-3, 207) Avg./Game: 10.9/4.2r

Preview

The Florida Gators and Clemson Tigers are set to meet for the first time in nearly 60 years in the 2017 Orange Bowl Classic.

Florida comes in off a 66-60 neutral site win over a ranked Cincinnati team that snapped a rough three-game losing streak. The Gators dropped all the way from No. 5 to No. 22 in the rankings after suffering losses to FSU and Loyola-Chicago last week, but gained a little poise back against the Bearcats.

It was Florida’s second Top 25 victory, which ties for the most of any team in college basketball so far this season.

The Gators forced 21 turnovers in a battle of toughness and defense. Offensively, Florida still didn’t get its mojo back.

Egor Koulechov (21), Jalen Hudson (17) and Chris Chiozza (15) were all in double figures, but no one behind them scored more than five points. Chiozza rallied the Gators to a win in the end, scoring the final six points of the game.

The Tigers have won their last four games, including a 79-65 win at Ohio State, since falling to Temple on November 19.

All five of Clemson’s starters average double figure scoring. Donte Grantham leads the offense with 16 points per game, while Elijah Thomas is the charge on defense with 8.8 rebounds per game and 16 blocked shots this season.

Shelton Mitchell has a team-high 45 assists, as the Tigers average 15.8 per game.

Surprisingly, the Gators and Tigers have played 18 times in history, and split those games evenly, but have not met since December of 1957.

Florida has done exceptionally well in its 18 Orange Bowl Classic games, with a 16-2 record and a current seven-game winning streak. The Gators will look to continue that dominance, but this game could be a bit more challenging than most of its previous matchups.

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Bailiegh Williams
Growing up the daughter of a baseball coach in a household that revolved around Gators sports, Bailiegh’s future working in sports was her destiny. She played four years of varsity softball at Suwannee High School and one year on softball scholarship at Gulf Coast State College. In her first year she discovered a love for journalism so she packed her bags and moved to Gainesville to finish her A.A. and begin interning for Gator Country. She is now on track to graduate from the University of Florida in 2019. In her free time, Bailiegh enjoys binge watching her favorite TV shows and spending time with her family and her two fur babies.