USA TODAY Sports
Florida hasn't been to Texas A&M since most of its players couldn't walk. Will the Gators make their mark in relatively uncharted territory on Thursday night?
Florida's Thursday night matchup with Texas A&M in College Station is the classic non-conference trip that a really good team takes to a middling team to get an RPI boo ... wait, Texas A&M joined the SEC in basketball, too? Huh. Okay. Anyway, this is the classic conference road game to a good-but-not-great team that spells only trouble for the better team.
Good thing Florida's not banged up and A&M isn't riding a historic high after a big ol' win against a fellow conference powerho ... okay, you know what, this isn't cool. Since when did Texas A&M get to come to the SEC and be good at football and basketball? YOU ALREADY HAVE JOHNNY FOOTBALL. MISSOURI WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BASKETBALL. THIS IS NOT FAIR.
Ahem. So. Florida's Erik Murphy (ribs), Mike Rosario (ankle), and Will Yeguete (knee) will all play through injuries, while Texas A&M's Elston Turner, who is coming off a 40-point explosion that felled Kentucky at Rupp on Saturday, presents a massive challenge to the Gators because of the absence of Casey Prather, Florida's best defender on big wings, who is out with a high ankle sprain.
One way Florida can neutralize Turner's penchant for efficient scoring and big threes is by keeping the ball as often as possible, and the Gators grabbing offensive rebounds would help accomplish that. Florida snags offensive boards on more than 38 percent of its possessions; A&M yields them on more than a third of its defensive possessions.
If Florida can keep the ball in A&M's end and get second and third shots, the Gators' offense should more than make up for any damage Turner (44.5 percent from three) and fellow long-range specialst Fabyon Harris (43.2 percent) do.
As always, I'll be in the comments, and on Twitter at @AlligatorArmy. Join me in revelry or misery, won't you?