Alabama 7-5 (0-0 SEC) visits Florida 8-4 (0-0 SEC) in the conference opener for both teams. The Florida Gators have played one of the more tougher non-conference schedules of all the SEC teams. They’ve gone up against UConn (loss), Miami (Fla.) (win), Xavier (win), Butler (loss), and Utah State (loss). Senior 6-foot-10 forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. is the Gator’s leading scorer (14.2 ppg) and rebounder (8.4 rpg). Three other players average nine or more points per game. Florida doesn’t shine at any particular stats SEC ranking wise. That may be because of the Gator’s more formidable schedule than other SEC teams. However, Florida is in the upper echelon of the SEC in most rebounding statistics. The Gators are also fourth in the league on 3-point shooting defense (.286) and sixth in scoring defense (62.6 ppg).
Alabama has played pretty tough schedule so far. Their best win is a recent victory over Richmond, 90-78. Although Bama hasn’t lost to any cupcakes, a 104-89 setback to Iowa State probably stings. Alabama leads the SEC in scoring offense (82.8 ppg) but is dead last in scoring defense (77.7 ppg). Guards Kira Lewis Jr.and John Petty Jr. each average over 16 points a game to lead the Crimson Tide. Alabama likes to shoot the three in bunches. They have almost as many three pointers made as free throws. Alabama has made 133 three pointers so far this season, the most in the SEC and 20 more than the second team in that statistical category. Petty Jr. is the top dog from three making over 50% with 42 made three point shots.
Florida should have the edge playing at home and conveniently the Gators are a solid three point defending team. If Alabama is red hot from three and can play a little defense, they might pull off a shocker.