University of Arkansas

Gators looking to stay focused vs. Arkansas

It has been an all too common theme this year. This Florida Gators basketball team that has won some very good games and played very well in close losses to really good teams has also stunk up the joint against teams they aren’t supposed to. Well, these Gator better not be fooled by the record of the Arkansas Razorbacks, because these Hogs can play ball.

Florida Gators (14-7, 5-3 SEC) vs #9 Arkansas Razorbacks (11-10, 4-4 SEC)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016; 7 P.M.

Gainesville, Florida; O’Connell Center

TV: SEC Network

For Mike White his biggest challenge this season was to get his team to play consistent. Since the SEC season started, the Gators came out of the gates strong with a 14 point win over Georgia, and then played their worst game of the year in the loss to Tennessee. They had a hard fought exciting win against LSU then shoot poorly on the road at Texas A&M. They travel to and shoot better against Ole Miss, then struggle in a home win over Mississippi State. They then blow the doors off of Auburn at home before losing their shooting touch against Vanderbilt until the end of the game. They had the electrifying win over top 10 West Virginia, but if the pattern continues, this game against Arkansas isn’t going to be pretty for the Gators.

White knows he has to have his team focused against a team that is suddenly on the rise and not looking at all like their record says.

“Arkansas is a really dangerous team who is really playing well as of late,” White told the media at his Monday morning press conference. “They are playing teams really close and coming off of some good wins as well.”

“I think the biggest challenge by far and away (for us) will be our mentality. We just beat a top 10 team and now we are facing a team that is hovering around .500. How do we handle it? They are a very good team.

“In their last eight games you are talking about a team who beats Vandy, beats Mississippi State who took us down to the wire, who had their way with Mizzou on the road, at LSU they lose by two. Their only average performance was really Kentucky who had their way with the Hogs. They lose to Georgia in overtime. They are coming off wins over two really good teams, Texas A&M at number five and Texas Tech who is having a really good year.

“Whatever we have to do to prepare ourselves against a really good team, a team that is playing really well lately. That’s the first order of business. I don’t care what they are ranked. We’ll have to play really well to get a win Wednesday night.”


The Razorbacks have three players averaging 16 points or more. However, the heart and soul of their team is 6-foot-10, 230 pound forward Moses Kingsley. The Gators have more size to throw on the floor, especially if junior forward Justin Leon returns, but Kingsley is a load in the blocks.

“We have to be really smart and disciplined with our fouls,” White said. “We have to do a really good job of understanding personnel over the next two days. Relative to where and when and how Moses does his damage offensively. He’s very talented and has come a long way. They’ve had a really interesting thing going with how much better these guys have gotten. If you look at how well they’re playing offensively, I don’t think a lot of people expected them to be this good offensively.

“I think they’ve done a really good job with role definition and playing through Moses a lot. They have two really good shooters and a big time assist / play maker guy in Durham. They’ve got really big cutters and role players around those few. They know what they’re doing and been consistent offensively.

“I think it starts with Kingsley, because he draws attention. We can’t do it with John, we have to do it with the three headed monster (John Egbunu, Schuyler Rimmer, and Kevarrius Hayes) at the center position. John, in order to give himself minutes and opportunities, has to be really smart and disciplined in showing his hands and trying to beat Moses to spots and anticipating against certain actions that he will see leading to Moses getting the ball.”


Florida Projected Starters

Ht. / Wt.



G Kasey Hill (JR)

6-1, 180



F Dorian Finney-Smith (SR)

6-8, 220



C John Egbunu (SO)

6-11, 255



G KeVaughn Allen (FR)

6-2, 183



G Chris Chiozza (SO)

6-0, 175




Arkansas Projected Starters




F Moses Kingsley (JR)

6-10, 230



G Dusty Hannahs (JR)

6-3, 203



G Jabril Durham (SR)

6-1, 185



G Anthlon Bell (SR)

6-3, 185



G Manuele Watkins (JR)

6-3, 205



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