USA TODAY Sports
Missouri wants to lure Florida into a fast-paced game. The Gators have already lost one road game in the SEC by falling into that trap. Can they avoid another?
There was one thing that few people, myself included, noticed and mentioned about Arkansas before Florida's disastrous night against the Razorbacks weeks ago: Florida doesn't like playing fast, and Arkansas knows nothing else. The Hogs are 12th in tempo, and Florida 295th, and on that night, the Hogs ran things their way, getting 70 possessions against a team that averages just under 63 on the year. Arkansas also got a win.
Missouri would no doubt like to follow the same blueprint when Florida heads into Mizzou Arena Tuesday night (9 p.m., ESPN or WatchESPN) for the second leg of a home-and-home with the Tigers, while the Gators would love nothing more than to drop another 30-point defeat on them.
One problem with that: The only game in which Florida played at a higher tempo than it did against Arkansas was that 83-52 rout of Mizzou.
Florida forced 21 Missouri turnovers on that day, and harassed Phil Pressey into 10, his career high. That helped the Gators get plenty of easy transition opportunities, and produced a game that was lopsided from the gate, with Florida roaring out to a 19-5 lead.
Missouri shouldn't be as error-prone at home, even if its spotless home court record is less impressive as you pay more attention to it. The Tigers have only committed turnovers on more than a fifth of their possessions four times at home this year, and won all those games anyway. (Their finest opponent in those games was Vanderbilt, though.)
But when Missouri does have a turnover percentage above 20 percent, it has gone 6-6. And Florida's had a defensive turnover percentage above that threshold 16 times this season — all in victories.
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