After experiencing their first loss against No. 21 ranked Purdue on Sunday, the Florida Gators basketball team (3-1) are ready to get back at it as they take on Vermont (2-3) at home. The Gators and the Catamounts will face off at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday November 25 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Florida is 2-0 all-time against Vermont, however this is the first time the two will match up in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators are 7-0 all-time versus the current America East teams with four of those wins being at home in Gainesville.
- In each of the first three games of the season, a Gator has had a double-double. Two of those came from Devin Robinson and the other from Dorian Finney-Smith.
- Against St. Joseph’s, Florida was down six points with 6:30 left to play in the game but they pulled off a 21-4 run to claim the win.
- Both John Egbunu and Dorian Finney-Smith scored over 15 points versus Purdue.
- Redshirt senior Dorian Finney-Smith leads the team in both scoring (12) and rebounding (9). He also led Florida in those categories last season.
Sophomore guard Trae Bell-Stephens leads the Catamounts this season averaging 20.2 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game in the past four games. Vermont has three other players that are averaging over 10 points per game, redshirt junior Daren Payen (10.3), redshirt freshman Ernie Duncan (12.8), and senior Ethan O’Day (13.5).
This team is strong offensively, which could cause trouble for Florida’s defense if they are not able to stop shots. In their last matchup they had four double-digit scorers, however their shot percentage was a low 41.8%. They also turned the ball over 16 times showing that ball handling is not one of their strongest areas.
Florida’s probable starters are the same lineup that Mike White has been using all season – DeVon Walker, Dorian Finney-Smith, KaVaughn Allen, Kasey Hill and John Egbunu. However, Mike White said that he is open to getting some players from the bench up to a starting position.
“Any time you don’t play well, and not that we just played so poorly, anytime you lose, in addition to not playing well, it gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate really everything that you’re doing,” White said. “From a player standpoint, a staff standpoint, style of play, a rotation, a starting lineup, all of those things.”
Vermont shot 81.8% from the free throw line in their last game, a position that Florida can not allow them to get in because those shots will go down. The Gators will have to press harder than they did against Purdue on defense and not allow the Catamounts to get four of their players in double-digits as they did in their last game.
What this game means:
For Vermont this upset win would be their first time beating Florida at their first matchup in Gainesville, Florida. It would also put them at an even record for wins and losses so far this season, putting them on the way to getting a winning record.
As for Florida, this win at home would help the team bounce back after suffering a loss on the road to Purdue. Not only would it serve as a confidence booster, but it also is a chance for them to keep their winning streak against Vermont alive.
Tune in to SEC Network to see for yourself how the cookie will crumble on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.