Florida vs. Georgia, Game Thread: Gators go for home-court record in rivalry matchup

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's mopped the floor with Georgia in Gainesville of late. If the Gators can do it again on Tuesday, they'll set a new program record.

Florida's won 24 straight games on its home court, and will be going for a school record 25th straight home win on Tuesday night (7 p.m., ESPNU) against Georgia.

All the Gators need to do to get it is beat a team that hasn't won in Gainesville in more than a decade.

Florida's current winning streak began in November 2012, when the Gators won their first game of the 2012-13 season against Alabama State; UF hasn't lost at home since, going undefeated in the O'Connell Center in 2012-13 and undefeated over their first nine home games of the 2013-14 season. The streak has featured beatdowns of Wisconsin, Marquette, Missouri, Kentucky, and Mississippi, all of whom fell by double digits in the O'Dome last year, and closer wins over Kansas and Florida State this season. It also featured a 33-point trouncing of Georgia in January 2013, in a game that started poorly for the Dawgs, down 16-4 after 10 minutes, and never got better.

It's been like that for Georgia in the O'Dome since 2002: Florida is 11-0 against Georgia at home since the Bulldogs took an 84-79 decision in January 2002, and just three of those games have been won by single digits, with just one won by fewer than eight points. It's been especially bad over the last five meetings, which Florida has won by an average of 21.2 points.

It's not likely to get better tonight, either, not with Georgia still lagging well behind Florida on talent and execution, even without Casey Prather in the Gators' lineup. Florida will be without its leading scorer for the second straight game, but should still be able to defeat the Dawgs with ease, either by exploiting an underwhelming front line underneath or by staying out of foul trouble and preventing Georgia from getting to the foul line, where it scores about a quarter of its points.

Georgia's also very unlikely to stress Florida's spotty three-point defense, with only Nemanja Djurisic, at an excellent 51.4 percent on the year, shooting better than 33.3 percent from the arc among Georgia players with 20 or more threes. Georgia is 203rd nationally in three-point percentage, but is 339th in percentage of points derived from threes; the long ball, maybe the best way to beat Florida this year, is neither Georgia's specialty nor its goal.

That is a good recipe for a new record, one that edged out a winning streak spanning the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons earlier this year to join a top five that consists of five streaks of at least 19 straight home wins, all of which have happened since 2002. Two other streaks in the top 10 came under Billy Donovan, too, but that top five alone is a strong testament to how golden this golden age of Florida basketball under Donovan has been.

Tonight, as the Rowdy Reptiles don orange beards given out for Patric Young Beard Night and salute one of Donovan's most exemplary Gators, Florida should provide another.

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