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Basketball preview: Florida Gators at Tennessee Volunteers

UF hopes to stay on pace for a double bye in the SEC tournament and break its four-game losing streak on the Vols’ home floor on Saturday.
Florida guard Andrew Nembhard, shooting over Mississippi's Devontae Shuler during a game on Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville, is averaging 13.3 points in February. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
Florida guard Andrew Nembhard, shooting over Mississippi's Devontae Shuler during a game on Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville, is averaging 13.3 points in February. [BRAD MCCLENNY | AP]

Florida (18-10, 10-5 SEC) vs. Tennessee (15-13, 7-8)

Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.; 2 p.m. Saturday; TV/radio: ESPN2; 860-AM

BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee looks for its fourth straight win over Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena. The last victory for the Gators on the Vols’ home floor was 67-58 on Feb. 11, 2014.

ON A ROLL: The Gators are coming off a resounding 81-66 home victory against LSU on Wednesday, winners of six of their past eight. They have the SEC’s best 3-point percentage (.376) and field-goal percentage (.467) during conference play. Noah Locke’s .494 conference 3-point percentage also leads the league.

NCAA RESUME: The Gators have six wins against teams in the top 50 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings, the primary method used to select and seed the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. Florida is tied for third with LSU in the SEC, one game behind second-place Auburn and three behind Kentucky. The top-four teams at the end of the regular season receive a double bye in the conference tournament.

SUPER SOPHS: Florida’s sophomore trio has stepped up big in February, combining for 41.5 points per game, led by Keyontae Johnson’s 17.5 average and followed by Andrew Nembhard (13.3) and Locke (11.9).

FUELING THE OFFENSE: Jordan Bowden has either made or assisted on 49 percent of all Tennessee field goals over the past three games. The senior guard has accounted for 20 field goals and 13 assists in those games.

SLIPPING AT 73: Tennessee is 0-8 this season when it allows 73 points or more and 15-5 when holding opponents to fewer than 73.

ASSIST RATIOS: The Vols have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Gators. Tennessee has an assist on 39 of 67 field goals (58.2 percent) across its past three outings; Florida has assists on 34 of 79 field goals (43 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW? Florida has committed a turnover on just 18 percent of its possessions this season, the second-best rate among all SEC teams. The Gators have turned the ball over only 12 times per game.

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