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Florida vs. Miami, Game Thread: Gators and ‘Canes battle for third place finish

NCAA Basketball: Advocare Invitational-Florida vs Seton Hall Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida will compete for third place in the AdvoCare Invitational this afternoon (4:30 p.m., ESPN2). The Gators opened play in the invitational tournament on Thanksgiving with a win over Seton Hall. Florida then returned to the court on Friday night, falling to Gonzaga 77-72. So now the Gators will compete with Miami for the second runner-up spot. The Hurricanes beat Stanford in their first appearance in the invitational before losing to Iowa State. Those losses marked the first this season for both Florida and Miami.

Miami bested the Gators in the last two meetings between the teams - ending Florida’s 33 game home winning streak in 2014, and last season in a 66-55 Hurricanes victory where the Gators never led. While Florida will see a different Miami team tonight than the one full of veterans that outclassed the Gators last season, this Hurricanes squad is still a talented one.

The Hurricanes have outscored opponents by an average of 76.6 to 57.4. Miami is shooting 46 percent from the floor and 31 percent from the three-point line. Defensively, the Hurricanes are allowing just 35 percent from the floor and 30 percent from the three-point line.

The Gators were done in on Friday against Gonzaga in large part due to terrible three-point shooting. Florida was just 2-for-19, or 10.5 percent, from the arc. While the Gators were still defensively solid, the Bulldogs made shots and the Gators did not. On the bright side, Florida did finish 22-for-24, or over 91 percent, from the foul line.

This will be only the second meeting out of 69 between Florida and Miami that will be played at a neutral site. This is also the first time in 28 years that these two will meet on the court in three consecutive seasons. The Gators and Hurricanes have only met six times since 1991 and do not have any future meetings currently scheduled. Hopefully Florida can finish third in the eight-team invitational with a victory over Miami today, rather than add a third game to the Hurricanes’ streak over the Gators.