Vols, Gators similar

Florida has a lofty national ranking, more size and a more imposing record but the Gators aren't a whole lot different than the Tennessee team they'll be visiting tonight.

Florida coach Billy Donovan conceded as much earlier this week, noting: "In watching them (Vols) on film, the philosophy and mentality of what both teams are trying to do are quite similar."

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena with TV coverage provided by Fox Sports Net.

In addition to similar "philosophy and mentality," the Vols and Gators have some remarkably similar numbers. For instance:

Florida leads the SEC in scoring at 84.2 points per game, while UT ranks second at 83.5.

Tennessee leads the SEC in 3-pointers by making 8.7 per game, while Florida ranks second at 8.3.

Florida leads the SEC in 3-point percentage at 41.4, while UT ranks second at 40.4.

Both teams rely on balanced scoring. All five Florida starters average between 11.5 and 13.7 points per game. Six UT players average between 9.6 and 16.6 ppg.

Now for the differences:

The Gators are 17-0, while the Vols are 11-3.

The Gators are ranked No. 2 nationally, while the Vols are unranked.

The Gators' frontline measures 6-11, 6-8, 6-8, while the Vols' frontline measures 6-10, 6-5, 6-4.

The Gators are coming off a 113-point scoring output against Jacksonville. The Vols, conversely, are in an offensive slump. After shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from 3-point range in its first 10 games, Tennessee has shot just 37.5 and 27.7 the past two games.

As usual, a huge key for the Vols will be rebounding. Tennessee must be competitive on the boards against Florida's imposing frontline of 6-11 Joakim Noah (12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds), 6-8 Al Horford (12.0, 7.0) and 6-8 Corey Brewer (13.2, 5.6). Guards Lee Humphrey (11.5 ppg) and Taurean Green (13.7 ppg, 5.0 assists per game) round out the Gator starting five.

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