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Open Thread: Gators vs. Georgia, SEC Tournament 2nd Round


7:30 pm | LF Sports
Georgia Dome | Atlanta, Georgia

The Gators (26-5) will go for a season sweep over their neighbors from the North, the Georgia Bulldogs (18-12), this evening in the Georgia Dome.  Tonight's game will begin the quest for a third straight SEC Tournament title for the Orange and Blue.

This will be Florida's opening game in the SEC tournament after having received a first round bye. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, played in the first round yesterday, beating Auburn 80-65.

The Gators have beaten the Bulldogs twice this season: 67-51 on January 6th and 71-61 on February 7th.  Overall the Gators have beaten the Red and Black seven times in a row.

Beating Georgia will be no easy task tonight for Florida, as the Bulldogs send out four different guys who average in double figure scoring.  Forward Takais Brown leads the way in points per game with 14.2.

The Bulldogs also rebound the ball well as a team, having been one of the few teams who outrebounded the Gators in a game this season (they average more per game the Florida as well, 38.2-37.1).  The rebound battle, especially on the offensive glass for both teams, will be something to watch tonight.  If the Gators are better in this category, they usually win, which spells doom for the Bulldogs unless they rise to the occasion.

The Gators are coming off a big win over Kentucky to close out the regular season, a victory desperately needed after they lost three of four games in a dramatic slide.  Florida looked more focused and intense against the Wildcats last Sunday, and are expected to come out with that same fire tonight in Atlanta.

The biggest turnarounds from the recent skid were those of Joakim Noah and Taurean Green, who both scored 17 points in the Gators' win.  When those two pitch in this team is pretty tough to beat, and they will need to continually put in good efforts if the Gators want to get their third straight conference tourney title.

This should be a victory for Florida, as long as they do what they've done for a majority of the season: Shoot a high percentage, rebound the ball well and play solid defense.  That combination, realistically, should get you a win every time out.

Go Gators!