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Florida vs. Florida State, Game Thread: Gators look to tip off by toppling Seminoles

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This is totally the most important event of this night in Florida.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

If you are sincerely most concerned, on this particular evening, about the Florida Gators and Florida St. Seminoles playing their first men’s college basketball game of the 2018-19 season (9:05 p.m, ESPN2 or WatchESPN), then I envy your ability to not see the rest of the world.

That said: The rest of us will be watching the Gators take on the Seminoles in a matchup of teams that went to the 2017 and 2018 Elite Eights, respectively, with one eye elsewhere.

Helpfully, you probably mostly know what Florida and FSU are, for the most part.

The Gators have some proven upperclassmen scorers, like seniors KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson, but have a question mark at point guard, where freshman Andrew Nembhard and sophomore Mike Okauru will try to replicate the performance that Chris Chiozza gave the Gators over his four steady years. Florida is also a little undersized, and will need someone other than Kevarrius Hayes — most likely redshirt freshman Isaiah Stokes — to step up to stabilize its frontcourt.

Leonard Hamilton’s team, on the other hand, is a towering bunch of athletes whose defense might be ahead of their offense. Terance Mann, who has terrorized Florida over his career, returns as the star of the Seminoles’ roster, and he’s likely to get a lot of help from C.J. Walker and Trent Forrest, though all three profile as streakier than they are consistent.

Florida is also without a win over FSU in the last four years, and has dealt with enough difficulty with the Seminoles that a win on the road in Tallahassee would be seen as a surprising season-opening breakthrough.

But surprises in Florida do happen on Election Night, I’ve heard.