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Open Thread: Gators vs. Arkansas, SEC Tournament Championship


1:00 pm | CBS Sports
Georgia Dome | Atlanta, Georgia

The Gators final roadblock in the way of their third straight SEC tournament championship comes in the form of the Arkansas Razorbacks today, a team that will more than likely need to win this tournament to make it into the field of 65.

Outside of Florida's two dominating performances, Arkansas has put together the most impressive run through this SEC tournament.  They have beaten South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State -- the last two being higher seeds in the tourney -- on their way to the final today.

The Gators have a lot on the line as well, as a win in this tournament may lock up a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

The Razorbacks have gotten a lot of production out of the combo of SEC Freshman of the Year Patrick Beverly, Sonny Weems and Gary Ervin in this tournament.  The three have combined for nearly 40 points a game in their three games thus far.

But they don't just have explosive scorers -- Arkansas has a big frontcourt combo of Charles Thomas and Steven Hill, two guys who have averaged 18 rebounds and three blocks a game between the two of them in the tournament.  Arkansas as a team has a positive rebounding margin of 3.2, which is above average, as well as an average of 6.5 blocks per game.  

Hill, who won SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors this season, will need help from both Thomas and forward Darian Townes in this game if they want to contain the presence of Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard underneath.

While Florida has looked head and shoulders above their first two opponents, the Razorbacks pose a different kind of threat because they match up much better than both Georgia and Ole Miss with their size.  I'm not expecting this game to be a cakewalk for the Gators, who will need to bring a good effort to take their third straight tourney title.

Go Gators!