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Florida Gators at Butler Bulldogs basketball preview capsule

UF goes on the road Saturday in hopes of extending its four-game winning streak, but it faces a tough test in Indianapolis.
Florida's Kerry Blackshear drives on Xavier's Jason Carter during the second half of the Charleston Classic title game on Nov. 24, 2019, in Charleston, S.C. [MIC SMITH  |  AP]
Florida's Kerry Blackshear drives on Xavier's Jason Carter during the second half of the Charleston Classic title game on Nov. 24, 2019, in Charleston, S.C. [MIC SMITH | AP]
Published Dec. 6, 2019

Florida (6-2) vs. No. 24 Butler (8-0)

Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis; noon Saturday

BOTTOM LINE: No. 24 Butler presents a tough challenge for Florida. The Gators have played a ranked team only once this season and won, topping then-No. 18 Xavier 70-65 last month in the final of the Charleston Classic. Butler is looking to extend its current eight-game winning streak. Florida, ranked No. 6 in the AP preseason poll, lost two of its first four to start the season and drop out of the Top 25, but it has won its past four.

SAVVY SENIORS: Butler’s Kamar Baldwin, Bryce Nze and Sean McDermott have combined to account for 56 percent of the team’s scoring this season and have scored 58 percent of all Bulldogs points over the past five games.

BLACKSHEAR LEADS: Florida’s Kerry Blackshear has connected on 29.4 percent of the 17 3-pointers he has attempted and has made 3 of 8 over the past three games. The graduate transfer also has converted 79.1 percent of his free throws.

STREAK SCORING: Butler has won its past five home games, scoring an average of 74.2 points while giving up 53.4.

ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Bulldogs have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Gators. Butler has an assist on 36 of 75 field goals (48 percent) over its previous three games; Florida has assists on 30 of 82 field goals (36.6 percent) during its past three.

TOUGH DEFENSE: Butler has held opposing teams to 55.5 points per game this year, the eighth-lowest figure among all Division I teams.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the national championship trophy as safety Grant Delpit looks on after the Tigers beat Clemson 42-25 on Jan. 13 in New Orleans. [GERALD HERBERT  |  AP]
    The LSU Tigers faced five top-seven defenses, averaging 38 points against them.
  2. Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Video review shows time ran out just before Florida’s tying layup.
  3. Florida head coach Dan Mullen celebrates after the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida won 36-28. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    Defensive tackle signee Gervon Dexter has earned his fifth star.
  4. Florida forward Omar Payne (5) runs up court after making a shot against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. Payne was a perfect 9 for 9 shooting during the game. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Previewing the Gators’ 7 p.m game at LSU on Tuesday.
  5. IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR ALLSTATE - Tim Tebow and fiancé Demi Nel-Peters volunteer together alongside Allstate volunteers at a community service project to benefit the Einstein Charter School ahead of the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in New Orleans. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate) [CHERYL GERBER  |  AP]
    The former quarterback and current Mets minor leaguer previously said he planned to remain a virgin until marriage.
  6. Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) takes aim for Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during a 2018 game. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The grad transfer will be eligible immediately.
  7. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  8. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  9. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during their game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
    Coach Mike White says his point guard missed practice Thursday and Friday. If he’s out, freshmen Tre Mann or Ques Glover likely will start Saturday.
  10. Todd Monken spent two seasons in Tampa Bay, the last as offensive coordinator, before being dismissed along with the rest of head coach Dirk Koetter's staff after the 2018 season.
    Tampa Bay’s former play-caller will be designing game plans for the Bulldogs against the Florida Gators next season.
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