Mike Rosario, out with an ankle injury, becomes the latest Gators player to miss a game with an injury in 2012-13. Can the Gators win on the road in the SEC without him?
Florida's already been without Casey Prather and Erik Murphy for games in 2012-13 due to injuries, and now Mike Rosario, out for Saturday's game against LSU with an ankle injury, is the latest Gator to miss time with an ailment.
Rosario injured the ankle on Wednesday against Georgia, and left that game with it, but later returned and led all scorers in Florida's 77-44 win with 19 points. This will be his first game out since a February trip to Arkansas — one Florida won by a 98-68 count. According to GatorZone's Chris Harry, Florida will go to a larger starting lineup — Scottie Wilbekin and Kenny Boynton at guard, and Prather, Murphy, and Patric Young in the frontcourt — without Rosario, who has started as the third guard for the Gators all year.
For many top-ranked teams in America, losing the second-leading scorer (Rosario averages 12.3 points per game) heading into a road game in conference play would be an issue, but Florida has four players scoring in double figures, is third in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and has five players (Murphy, Prather, Michael Frazier, Boynton, and Wilbekin) with better Offensive Ratings than Rosario.
Additionally, conference play is not exactly daunting in the SEC. LSU's defense is better than its offense, and Tigers who are not Anthony Hickey struggle mightily to hold on to the ball, with eight LSU players turning the ball over more than once every five possessions. Florida will have to keep Andre Stringer, an Erving Walker-type with a very good stroke from deep (42.9 percent on threes), from taking over the game, but is by far the best team LSU has seen in 2012-13 — and LSU's best win came at home against Seton Hall in a game in which the Pirates coughed up 26 turnovers.
Florida is somewhat unlikely to commit 26 turnovers in a game.
Florida has won its last three meetings with LSU. Today's game tips at 4 p.m. Eastern, and can be seen on ESPNU. It is blacked out on ESPN3, so if you don't have ESPNU, you may have to resort to ... alternative means. (But if you post any in the comments, you're getting banned.)