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Basketball preview: Florida Gators vs. No. 4 Auburn Tigers

UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
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]
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]
Published Jan. 18

Florida (11-5, 3-1 SEC) vs. No. 4 Auburn (15-1, 3-1)

O’Connell Center, Gainesville; 1:30 Saturday; TV/radio: CBS; 860-AM

BOTTOM LINE: Fourth-ranked Auburn presents a tough challenge for Florida. The Gators have won one of their two games against ranked opponents this season. The Tigers were upset 83-64 at Alabama on Wednesday.

BIG MEN ON CAMPUS: Kerry Blackshear has put up 15 points and 8.4 rebounds to lead the way for the Gators. Keyontae Johnson is also a key contributor, maintaining an average of 13 points and 6.8 rebounds. The Tigers have been led by Samir Doughty, who is averaging 15.1 points.

SEC IMPROVEMENT: The Gators have scored 82.8 points per game against SEC opponents so far, an improvement from the 70.8 they recorded against nonconference foes.

OFFENSIVE THREAT: Point guard Andrew Nembhard has made or assisted on 47 percent of all field goals over the Gators’ past three games. The sophomore has accounted for 15 field goals and 20 assists in those games.

STREAK STATS: Florida has won its past five home games, scoring an average of 83.2 points while giving up 68.6.

ASSIST RATIOS: The Gators have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Tigers. Florida has an assist on 38 of 75 field goals (50.7 percent) over its previous three outings. Auburn has assists on 33 of 78 field goals (42.3 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW? Auburn has attempted the second-most free throws in all of Division I. The Tigers have averaged 25.9 per game.

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  2. In this 1980 file photo, Charley Pell celebrates his first victory as Florida Gators' coach, against Cal at Tampa Stadium.
  3. Florida basketball coach Mike White, shown here against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2020, continues to be frustrated by his team falling behind by large deficits early in games.
  4. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during a game Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville.
  5. South Florida Bulls tight end Mitchell Wilcox (89) makes a key reception with Temple Owls safety Amir Tyler (25) and Temple Owls linebacker Audley Isaacs (30) defending during the third quarter of the game between USF and Temple on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  6. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times Florida Gators wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) walks in Gator Walk before the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla.
  7. Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen will be in Tampa for part of his spring speaking tour.
  8. Florida coach Mike White, shown here against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2020, saw his team come back from 22 points down in the second half on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, to beat Georgia and equal the biggest comeback win in program history.
  9. Penn State wide receiver Justin Shorter (6) attempts to catch a pass as Pittsburgh defensive back Jazzee Stocker (7) defends this past season.
  10. Former five-star receiver Justin Shorter might be the biggest addition for the Florida Gators today. He has officially signed with UF as a transfer from Penn State. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
  11. Mike White and the Gators get a road win over Vanderbilt and return home to face Georgia on Wednesday.
  12. Mike White is pleased with an improved offense, but calls the Gators the worst defensive team he has coached in nine years.
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