Here Come The (No. 1 ranked) Gators

Auburn, Ala.--Florida will bring an 18-2 overall mark, a 5-0 SEC record and an 11-game winning streak into Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

As impressive as those numbers are for the nation's top-ranked team, Auburn coach Jeff Lebo says what the defending national basketball champions have faced on a weekly basis has made the Gators' accomplishments so far this season even more spectacular.

"Florida is playing great basketball now coming in with an 11-game winning streak," Lebo says. "They are experienced, tough, they have been tested and have taken everybody's best shot and still win.

"They are terrific in every aspect of the game offensively and defensively," Lebo adds. "They share the ball, they are well-coached. What separates them from a lot of teams is that they take everybody's best shot and still win."

Corey Brewer is shooting 49.7 percent from the field this season and is known as a strong defensive player for the Gators, who led the nation in field goal shooting at 54.2 percent.

Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CST on Saturday as Auburn looks for its third victory over a ranked team this season after knocking off Alabama 81-57 on Tuesday night. The Gators trail the series 86-65, but have won the last seven games against Auburn, including an 84-78 overtime game on their last visit to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum two seasons ago.

Lebo notes that he understands what the Gators face because when he played for Dean Smith at North Carolina the Tar Heels were a team that opponents would always get up to play. "The hype surrounding every one of their games is so big," notes Lebo.

The Gators feature five starters who are scoring in double figures. The group includes 6-0 junior guard Taurean Green (13.5 points per game), 6-9 junior forward Corey Brewer (12.8), 6-11 junior forward Joakim Noah (12.8), 6-10 junior forward Al Horford (11.8) and 6-2 senior guard Lee Humphrey (10.4).

Joakim Noah is the son of former professional tennis star Yannick Noah.

"It will be tough," Lebo says, noting the Gators have shown the mental toughness to win on the road. "You have got pick your poison with them. You are going to have to give up something to try to defend one thing and you kind of pick your poison with them because they can score on the outside and they can certainly hurt you on the inside. If anybody has any suggestions, give me a holler."


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