Florida hosts Mississippi Valley State tonight
Two days after a double-digit win over then-No. 22 Texas A&M this past weekend, Florida (8-2) will be back on the court tonight in a 7 p.m. game against Mississippi Valley State (1-8).
The Gators will be going for their 11th consecutive victory at home, dating back to last season. Florida has played four of its first five games away from Gainesville, and now begins a five-game stretch that includes four home games. The Gators will host Florida State on Thursday night.
Mississippi Valley State has a starting lineup that includes five seniors – led by center Paul Crosby who is averaging 14.1 points per game. The Delta Devils have just one win, but have played a brutal non-conference schedule that includes road games against North Carolina, Florida, Winconsin, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Arkansas, Northwestern, Iowa State, Ole Miss and DePaul. Delta Devils coach Sean Woods is a former Kentucky star who played with Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey when Florida coach Billy Donovan was an assistant on that Kentucky team.
Florida forward Erik Murphy returned to the starting lineup on Saturday. Murphy had continued to come off the bench for several games since his return from a bone bruise injury in his knee, but Florida coach Billy Donovan said he felt it was important to get Murphy back in the starting lineup as soon as possible based on last season.
"I thought last year when Erik got hurt, when he came back he never regained the form he was at for whatever reason,'' Donovan said. "We were really deep in the front court last year with Vernon (Macklin) and Alex (Tyus) and Chandler (Parsons) and Pat (Young) and he kind of got through the year and gave us good spot minutes here and there. But I didn't want the same thing to happen to him as it did a year ago.''