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Gator Basketball vs. Auburn; SEC Tournament First Round

On February 18, Florida defeated Auburn 78-70. Since then, UF has gone 2-3 and Auburn has gone 3-2, with each team playing inconsistently.

In February, the Gators (20-11, 9-7 SEC) won because they made 32 of 40 free throws. Maybe some of those trips to the line could have resulted in made shots, but Florida foul shooting saved the day against an Auburn (15-16, 6-10) team that is scoring about 74 points per game in the SEC.

For Florida to win tonight, they need constant offensive pressure. Auburn will score, but they are last in SEC points per game allowed (76.5; UF allows 69.3ppg) and 11th in SEC field goal percentage allowed (48&; UF allows 45%). Part of Auburn's problem is that they foul too much, so UF needs to make the most of their trips to the line.

As I mentioned earlier, the Gators need Chandler Parsons. But, with the possibility of having to play three games in consecutive days, UF needs to score inside and at the line; high percentage plays. Vernon Macklin last time out against Auburn only attempted four shots. That's not going to work. Auburn could play hack-a-Vernon, but Macklin is 12-21 at the line in his last five games. Also in their previous meeting, four Gators were in double figures, a necessity to fight back against Auburn's high scoring offense.

Auburn could pull this out. As they showed in their 89-80 victory over Mississippi State, the Tigers can blow the doors off with a high field goal percentage and knocking down three pointers. Guard Tay Waller leads Auburn with 17.4ppg in SEC play and has scored 20+ points in each of the last five games. About half of his shots will come from three-point range, which means Florida cannot let him get hot early.