Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The Florida Gators have been laying waste to the SEC. Can Marshall Handerson and the Ole Miss Rebels give them a run for their money?
It's tough to see why there's no human poll that ranks Florida No. 1. They've been ranked No. 1 by Ken Pomeroy's system since early January, and have absolutely blown the SEC out of the water. They're 7-0, and their closest win is by 15 points. Their only losses were on the road to now-No. 8 Arizona and at a neutral site to now-No. 18 Kansas State. Billy Donovan's squad scores 123.6 points per 100 possessions, the second-best figure in the country, and allows only 79.7 points per 100 possessions, the best in the country. Quite simply, there's no other team on their level from a per-possession perspective. Gators blog Alligator Army noted that what they're doing to the SEC is historically impressive.
Their job on Saturday will be to shut down Henderson. He averages 19.3 points per game, and has earned national attention with clutch performances gunning in an overtime win against Vanderbilt and a 63-61 win over Auburn. He does almost all of his work from behind the arc, as he has attempted 218 threes and only 74 twos this season. It worked as the Rebels won their first six SEC games, but it came crashing down in a game against Kentucky when he shot just 2-for-11 from deep. He'll need to be on top of his game to take down a team of Florida's caliber, especially on the road. Pomeroy's system gives the Rebels a four percent chance of victory, and Ole Miss Red Cup Rebellion showed that the four factors for victory don't give the Rebels much of a chance:
Let’s be blunt. It’s unlikely that our beloved Rebels win this game. Henderson could come out and be unconscious from the opening tip and (Reginald Buckner) and (Murphy Holloway) could give them trouble down low for a time, but this Florida team is [sic] relentless machine. They just keep scoring.
Here's the info on Saturday's game:
No. 16 Ole Miss (17-3, 6-1) vs. No. 4 Florida Gators (18-2, 7-0)
Where: Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida
When: 7 p.m.