This will be the Gators’ 17th time in the Orange Bowl Classic, boasting a 14-2 record in the event. Florida faces a tough Oklahoma State (7-3) team on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. at the BB&T Center.
The Cowboys are without senior guard Phil Forte, but Florida coach Mike White still sees a dangerous team on the other side of the floor.
“They have other capable shooters,” White said. “They have veterans, they have a bunch of guys that have had success there. They’ve got size, they’ve got depth and they’re always really sound, especially positionally defensively so it’s another tall task for us offensively. We’re going to be trying to find ways to generate points for us offensively.”
That’s a familiar average for Florida this season. The Gators are averaging 71.8 points per game but didn’t top 55 points in either game against No. 15 Miami and No. 1 Michigan State last week.
The players see this game as an important opportunity to get back in the win column.
“It’s real critical,” Florida forward Devin Robinson said. “We’ve got to prove to people that we can go into somebody else’s house and play our game and come out with the win. Last two games, one game we didn’t play our best, the other game we played our hardest. It’s just the outcome didn’t come our way. This game is really big for us to go out there and show people that we can get a win on the road.”
The Gators could get a boost on the injury front. Alex Murphy suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot during Florida’s exhibition game, but he could get back on the floor on Saturday against Oklahoma State. Murphy practiced earlier in the week and didn’t have any issues.
White said there’s “a chance” that the senior forward returns to face the Cowboys, but it will be determined by how he handles practice to close out the week. Murphy’s presence on the floor has been missed, but his vocal presence is still there. While watching from the bench during the injury, the senior has been loud and making sure the younger players are in the right place at the right time.
“If he wants to coach, he’s got a future in it,” White said. “I’m sure he’ll have a bunch of options. He’s a bright guy. He’s infectious with his personality. He’s as good a teammate I’ve ever been around, and we have three or four guys like that, just big givers. He’s a big giver. Real positive guy, whether he gets in the game Saturday or not, whether he scores 20 or zero, he’s about Florida winning and he’s always doing his best to help his teammates.”