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South Carolina at Florida: Preview Capsule and Gameday Open Thread

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Florida Gators Preview Capsule

SBN Community: Alligator Army

Record: 13-5 (2-2)

Team Strengths: Scoring Offense, Scoring Defense, Scoring Margin, 3FG% Defense, Turnovers Per Game, Turnover Margin, Personal Fouls Per Game

Team Weaknesses: FG%, 3FG%

Season Thus Far: After an early victory over Michigan State, it appeared that the Gators might be back to their dominant ways. That hasn't turned out to be the case, as the Gators lost to Richmond and South Alabama in the OOC and then lost their SEC openers to Vandy and Kentucky. The Gators followed that with victories over Western Division bottom feeders LSU and Arkansas to bring their conference record to .500 coming into tonight's game.

The Gators' problems would seem to be fairly inexplicable. Their stats--particularly their strong turnover and rebound margins--would suggest a disciplined, efficient team, and considering the talent Billy Donovan has in Gainesville, you would think he would be winning more games with this group. However, the Gators aren't a particularly good shooting team, and they've been known to fall apart defensively, often giving up more than 80 in fast-paced games against good teams.

What to Expect: The matchup people will be talking about is Devan Downey vs. Kenny Boynton, Billy D's talented freshman point guard. I'm a little more interested, though, in the Gators' front line. The Gators will start three players--Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin, and Chandler Parsons--who are over 6'8 and all good scorers. Darrin Horn will have to figure out a way to contain these guys while keeping our scoring options intact.

Prediction: Although they have different strengths, I think these are two relatively even teams, and I think we'll beat Florida later in the year in Columbia. This time, though, the Gators win in their house by a 3-6 point margin. I expect a close game tonight, though, and when the game is close late, there's always hope. A win would certainly be huge.