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Florida vs. Arkansas, Game Thread: Gators look to tame Hogs

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Florida got 28 points from KeVaughn Allen in its last win over Arkansas

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On this Friday night, in St. Louis, the Florida Gators make their 2018 SEC Tournament debut — finally — against Arkansas.

You know how it goes for the Gators against Arkansas, right?

The Razorbacks still have talented guards in Jaylen Barford, Anton Beard, and Daryl Macon, and still have one problematically talented frontcourt player in Daniel Gafford, whose emergence in SEC play is perhaps the primary reason the Hogs are NCAA Tournament-bound, win or lose.

But Florida is still a bad matchup for the press-happy Mike Anderson’s charges, as the Gators care for the ball and have the wheels to keep with the Hogs if they want to make the pace of the game ragged. Arkansas tried to do that, to some extent, in Gainesville in January — and left the O’Connell Center with an 88-73 loss.

KeVaughn Allen going off against his home-state team had plenty to do with that, too. The Natural State star had 28 points — on 12 shots, with six threes — to lead the Gators in that victory, and has anecdotally seemed to raise his game against the program that coveted him dearly. If Allen can do that again, and get assistance like he did from Jalen Hudson (21 points) in that contest, Florida should be able to hold off the Hogs and advance to a Saturday semifinal against Tennessee.

And if not? Well, it probably solidifies Florida’s earlier win over Arky as a Quadrant 1 win. So there’s that!