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Florida vs. Jacksonville, Game Thread: Scottie Wilbekin's back, and you're gonna be in trouble

Florida treks to the northeast to play a road game with a bunch of Dolphins. And it has Scottie Wilbekin available for the first time this year.

Ronald Martinez

Hey-la, day-la: Scottie Wilbekin's back.

That's the headline for Florida's Monday night game at Jacksonville, which also serves as a sendoff of sorts for Jacksonville native Patric Young. The return of their senior point guard, after a six-game suspension, makes the Gators nearly whole, and should set them up for success in a game against a Dolphins team that has struggled this season, posting a 2-3 record with its wins coming against Division II Florida College and lowly Florida A&M.

Jacksonville plays fast, ranking 34th in Adjusted Tempo according to KenPom, but has sacrificied a lot of defensive efficiency to do that, ranking 310th nationally and allowing 109.4 points per 100 possessions. The Dolphins are also 346th nationally in offensive rebounding rate allowed, so Young and Will Yeguete are likely to pound them on the glass.

Florida is also coming off a surprisingly good showing against Middle Tennessee State last Thursday, in which the Gators shrugged off not having a healthy point guard and pulled away against the feisty Blue Raiders for a 20-point win. Young was excellent in that game, but strong play from Dorian Finney-Smith was the best outcome of the night, and if he can continue working into the Gators' rotation, he'll continue turning into a nightmare for opposing wings. Jacksonville defenders may see "Doe-Doe" in their bad dreams, too: A lack of players who can match up to the 6'8" Finney-Smith spells trouble for them when defending him (and fellow slasher Casey Prather) as they swoop to the hoop.

And Florida's four-man senior class (Prather, Wilbekin, Yeguete, and Young) assuredly remembers the first time the Gators played Jacksonville in their careers: The Dolphins won, 71-68, in an overtime upset at the O'Connell Center in the fall of 2010. Florida's already gotten revenge once, torching Jacksonville in J-Ville by a 107-62 count in in 2011, and could definitely get more tonight.

Tip time for the game is 7 p.m., and it will be televised on Fox Sports Florida. Fans outside the Sunshine State can catch the game streaming online via ESPN3 ... as long as they're not in the SEC's footprint, where it's blacked out.

I'm running a few errands and may or may not be around right at tipoff, but I'll be around for most of the game, so feel free to drop your responses, comments, and questions down in the pretty white space below.


Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.