9:00 pm - ESPN
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
The Gators (25-4, 12-2) return to action tonight against the Tennessee Volunteers (20-9, 8-6), trying to bounce back from a depressing loss to the LSU Tigers on Saturday.
Florida has already had their way with Tennessee once this season, beating them handily in Gainesville 94-78 on February 3rd. The Volunteers were without the dangerous Chris Lofton that day, a junior guard who averages over 20 points per game on the season. This game will be a bit tougher than the first outing as well for the simple fact that it is in Knoxville -- a place where the Vols have not lost once this season.
Tennessee is a very fast-paced team that can score a ton of points. They rank 15th in the nation according to Pomeroy in terms of pace at 73.7 possessions per game (the Gators are at 67.4). The Vols also average more points per game than the Gators offense, coming in at 80.2. On that note they give up much more to the opposition per game, allowing 74.7 points.
One thing to watch tonight is the rebounding battle between these two teams. Florida comes in with a much better rebounding margin than the Vols, and with that has a pretty considerable size advantage in the starting five. Joakim Noah must assert himself more this game in the paint and on the glass if the Gators want a chance to win.
Another thing to look out for would be the turnover battle. Tennessee comes in forcing a very high 18.8 per game -- seeing this leads me to believe the Gators will have to slow the tempo down and create good shots, while protecting the ball, if they want to win.