Nearly a year to the day after the Florida Gators basketball team (8-3) went into Donald L. Tucker Center and gifted the Florida State Seminoles (9-2) with a heartbreaking belated Christmas gift off the hands of Jacob Kurtz, the Noles now arrive in Gainesville looking for a repeat; the Gators don’t plan on let that happening.
“I know it’s a good opportunity simply against a good team, a talented team,” describes head coach Mike White.
“It’s a game at home, a team that beat us last year. So I just think there’s already enough incentive. But our guys are aware that it’s another in state opportunity and again we’re aware that this team got the best of us last year. We have a big opportunity in front of us so enough there to where hopefully if we play well enough we have a shot at home.”
To do so the Gators will have to go through some hot shot young Noles.
A pair of freshman guards lead the way for FSU, with Malik Beasley averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds and Dwayne Bacon at 17.2 and 5.4 boards.
“Certainly with Bacon and Beasley, you give them really any easy looks, if they get a transition layup, or an uncontested 3 on a failed rotation or something like that, it just contributes to how hard those guys are to defend”, explains White.
This Florida defense has been their strong point thus far this season, holding many teams to their lowest output of their schedule to this point, but now, as sophomore forward Devin Robinson says, it will have to advance to the next level because this 67th meeting between the instate rivals will be unlike any other.
“They’re very offensive based, not like any other FSU team,” says Robinson.
“Most FSU teams focus more defense, but their transition offense is amazing, one of the best in the country and we know we have to defiantly have a good game on the backboard to help us get the win… These guys go. They’ve got two great freshmen this year…they go. They leak out, they get the ball and they just score. They’re scoring machines and our defense has got to step up really a lot this game to contain that and if we don’t it’ll be a long night.”
It was a long night in 2014, made even longer by an excoriating one-second play that ended the game in the Seminoles favor. But now this Florida Gators basketball team has a chance at redemption, a chance to really get things rolling heading into SEC play and a chance to start the new year with the sweetest belated Christmas gift there is; a win over FSU.
- This will be the 67th meeting between Florida and Florida State, with UF holding a 43-23 series lead. The Gators are 21-6 all-time at home vs. the Seminoles, and this marks UF’s first game against FSU under head coach Mike White.
- Florida State enters Tuesday’s game on a five-game winning streak. However, the Seminoles are 0-1 in road games, with an overtime loss at Iowa in their only prior contest in enemy territory.
The Florida Gators basketball game against Florida State tips off at 7pm on ESPN2 and as always, make sure you’ve joined GatorCountry.com to follow along for complete coverage.