Mike Rosario says Gators expect tough challenge from Missouri tonight
When Florida plays at Missouri tonight, the Gators expect to face a much different, more formidable opponent than the Tigers team they defeated 83-52 back on Jan. 19.
For starters, Missouri senior F Laurence Bowers is back in the lineup, having missed the earlier game against Florida due to a knee injury. Bowers is averaging 14.1 points nd 6.0 rebounds per game.
"When we played them obviously the first time he did not play,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "A guy that has been referenced by their team, coaches, as a heart-and-soul guy for their team. He's a very, very good player. He can do a lot of different things. He rebounds. He scores from the low post. He can shoot threes. He's very crafty. He's good defensively. He's a very smart player. I think any time you take a player like that away from yoru team, your team is going to be a little bit different. Certainly, he's an older guy, a veteran, an experienced guy. Him being back only makes their team better."
Mizzou has a 15-game home court winning streak, the seventh longest active streak in America. Since the 2008-09 season the Tigers are 81-4 at home and have never lost more than two home games in a single season. They are 29-1 under head coach Frank Haith. But Haith believes this will be be the best team the Tigers have faced this season.
"I think they are a complete team,'' Haith said. "I think they are good on both ends of the court and they don't beat themselves. I think they are the best team in the country. They just don't beat themselves and you've got to beat them because they are a veteran club. . . . They were one win from the Final Four (last season), they were an Elite Eight team and they've been together, they have great trust in one another and it shows in how they play.''
Florida guard Mike Rosario said the Gators expect a much tougher challenge tonight, on the road, against a Missouri team trying to avenge the earlier season loss. Here are his thoughts on defending Missouri star guard Phil Pressey and the return of Bowers.