Florida's Erik Murphy was supposed to be playing his homecoming game against Yale in New Haven on Sunday. He'll miss it with an injury instead. Will that hurt his Gators?
Florida coach Billy Donovan likes to schedule games near seniors' hometowns to allow families and friends to come out and see them, and that was part of the logic behind the Gators taking a trip up to Yale today to play the Bulldogs. (It's part of a home-and-home; Florida beat Yale in Gainesville in December 2011.) Alas, senior Erik Murphy, from nearby Rhode Island, won't play, missing the game with bruised ribs.
Fortunately for the Gators, Murphy's absence probably won't matter much against the Elis, given that they've taken a huge step back after the departure of seven-foot center Greg Mangano. Yale is 5-10, with its only win by more than seven points coming against non-Division I Albertus Magnus College.
For the Gators, the blueprint is simple: Keep forward Justin Sears (14th in offensive rebounding percentage) off the glass, and play good offense, and this will probably be a comfortable win. But Florida, after starting its season incandescently hot, has not been able to stick to that blueprint quite as well in its last four games, falling to Arizona and Kansas State and struggling with Southeastern Louisiana and Air Force early before pulling away in blowouts.
Florida vs. Yale will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC Sports. It's the Gators' second appearance on NBC Sports this year, following their half-long cameo during the Navy/Marine Corps Classic against Georgetown.