Gator men's, women's basketball teams in action tonight
The men's basketball team will play at Arkansas in a nationally-televised game on ESPN. The matchup will pit Florida coach Billy Donvovan and former Gator assistant John Pelphrey against each other once again. The Gators will have a quick turnaround this week, hosting South Carolina on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Florida (12-5, 1-2 SEC) is coming off its first conference win of the season (over LSU last Saturday), but is facing an Arkansas team that finally has some of its previously suspended players back and is playing much better since earlier this month, UF coach Billy Donovan said.
"Arkansas has had somewhat of a tough stretch out of the holidays, playing Texas, a team ranked No. 1 in the country, then they had to play on the road at Mississippi State, lost that game by two points, but then came back and got a home win against Alabama this weekend,'' Donovan said. "I don’t think they’re a team whose record speaks of where they’re at right now as a basketball team.''
The Gators (10-8, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) are coming off a 55-52 win at Mississippi State, where sophomore Trumae Lucas ignited an 8-2 run with seven points late in the second half. That victory halted a two-game slide for Florida, which won in Starkville for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Alabama has struggled so far this season - 8-10, 0-5 - but is 5-2 at Coleman Coliseum this year.
“Alabama is a very improved team that is playing its best basketball right now,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “They are also on their home court Thursday, which is the most important thing. Going to
an SEC team’s home court is a battle. They are more experienced than any other Alabama team that we’ve played. They have a good mix of juniors and seniors and also some younger players who are making an impact. They are very dynamic and very athletic. We’re going to have to rebound and play Florida basketball.”