The Gators (15-2, 2-0) travel to South Carolina (10-4, 0-1) today in what is the SEC road opener. The Gators are coming off of a 79-72 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the O-Dome, while the Gamecocks were beaten 80-56 by Georgia in their conference opener. They also have losses to UC Irvine, Clemson and Kansas on the season.
While the Gamecocks have not been overly impressive this season, it is never a safe bet to underestimate the opposition in a conference road game. Momentum always plays such a huge role in these games, meaning that the Gators will have to hit shots when they really need to and not make too many stupid mistakes if they want to win.
Here are a few keys to the game:
Rebounds: The Gamecocks have not been very good on the glass this season, with their rebound margin coming in being -0.6. The Gators, on the other hand, outrebound their opposition by an average of 9.4/game. The size advantage is clearly in favor of Florida, with the Gamecocks starting front court coming in at 6-4, 6-7 and 6-9. We should see several opportunities for second-chance points for the Gators in this one, as Horford, Noah and Brewer should be able to grab several rebounds today.
Balance: The Gators starting 5 has what I would consider an amazing scoring balance as of right now. The margin between the lowest (Humphrey, 9.4) and the highest (Green, 13.8) is only 4.4 points. The Gators are averagin 18 assists/game and have found a way to truly spread the wealth among the starters. We'll need to see that today from the starting 5, as the bench has not been as involved as we have liked over the past couple games.
3 pointers: Lee Humphrey is 7-12 in SEC play from the 3 point line, which could be a very vital part of today's game. In conference road games you need to hit the big shots, and Humphrey could do just that when they need him to today. The Gators are shooting 42% from the 3 point line on the season.