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Basketball preview: Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers

UF looks to keep hold of one of the top four seeds in the SEC tournament and gain a little revenge Wednesday against LSU.
Florida's Kerry Blackshear looks for an opening on Kentucky's Nick Richards in the first half in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. [JAMES CRISP | AP]

Florida (17-10, 9-5 SEC) vs. LSU (19-8, 10-4)

Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville; 9 p.m. Wednesday; TV/radio: ESPN2; 860-AM

BOTTOM LINE: LSU goes for the season sweep over Florida after winning the previous matchup in Baton Rouge. The teams last met Jan. 21, when the Gators made only nine free throws on 11 attempts while the Tigers went 24-for-31 on the way to a two-point victory. The Gators are coming off a tough road loss to then-No. 10 Kentucky, 65-59 on Saturday.

HIGH STAKES: The matchup almost surely will have significant bearing on seeding in the SEC tournament. LSU is a half-game behind Auburn for second in the league standings and two games behind first-place Kentucky. Florida is alone in fourth, a half-game ahead of Mississippi State. At the end of the regular season, the top-four teams receive a double bye in the tournament.

LEADING THE CHARGE: Florida’s Keyontae Johnson has averaged 13.9 points and seven rebounds, and Kerry Blackshear has put up 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. For the Tigers, Skylar Mays has averaged 16.4 points and five rebounds while Trendon Watford has put up 13.8 points and seven rebounds.

MIGHTY MAYS: Mays has connected on 35.8 percent of the 106 3-pointers and has made 10 of 25 over his past five games. He also has converted 85.4 percent of his free throws.

UNDEFEATED WHEN: The Gators are 9-0 when they hold opposing teams to 61 points or fewer and 8-10 when opponents exceed 61 points. The Tigers are 11-0 when they hold opponents to a field-goal percentage of 40.4 percent or worse, and 8-8 when opponents exceed that percentage.

STREAK STATS: Florida has won its past three home games, scoring an average of 79.3 points while giving up 66.7.

DID YOU KNOW? LSU is ranked eighth among Division I teams with an average of 80.8 points per game.

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