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Florida vs. Tennessee, Game Thread: Can Dorian Finney-Smith's return buoy Gators?

Florida's got one of its best players back for its meeting with Tennessee.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Florida played a basketball game, it lost.

The last time Florida played a basketball game with Dorian Finney-Smith, it lost.

The last time Florida played a basketball game against Tennessee at home and wore alternate Nike uniforms, like the ones the Gators will don today, it lost — and a friend and I improvised some new words to "Rocky Top" near triple zeroes.

The good news, heading into Saturday's game against Tennessee (6 p.m., ESPN2 / WatchESPN), with Finney-Smith returning from suspension and fresh Nike Hyper Elites to wear, is that last time Florida played a basketball game at home, it won.

Granted, that was against lowly Vanderbilt, and Florida has lost at LSU and Missouri since then ... but Tennesseee lost to Vanderbilt, too! And at home!

The Commodores' 73-65 win over the Vols on Thursday in Knoxville featured truly horrific three-point defense (Vandy made 13 of 25 triples) more than countered Tennessee's incredible advantages on the boards, where they grabbed 19 of 37 possible offensive rebounds and a staggering 94.7 percent of the defensive rebounds available.

Tennessee had as many offensive rebounds as Vanderbilt had rebounds. It lost by eight.

So, yes, problems abound for other SEC teams, too, although Missouri had many more than Tennessee did, and still managed to hold the Gators under 0.85 points per possession for the third straight game. Florida can't shoot without Finney-Smith and Michael Frazier II — likely still out while recuperating from a high ankle sprain — and having only one of its two reliable perimeter options back still doesn't add too much punch, at least in theory.

But Florida scored around a point per possession without Frazier but with Finney-Smith over the two games immediately after Frazier went down against Kentucky. And even a point per possession on offense might just win Florida a game at home, where Florida's been that generous on defense only five times this season.

And if that happens? Billy Donovan might get to celebrate win No. 500 in front of a home crowd after all.

Let's hope it does.