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Missouri-Florida basketball preview

• WHEN/ WHERE: 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

• TV/RADI O: ESPN; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

• ABOUT MISSOURI (16-5, 4-4 SEC) : The Tigers are 5-3 against top 10 teams under coach Frank Haith, including a 63-60 victory last year against a Florida team that arrived at Mizzou Arena ranked No. 5 in the nation. Missouri’s last road victory against a top 10 team was Jan. 21, 2012, at Baylor. Last season, the Gators, ranked 10th at the time, walloped the Tigers 83-52 in Gainesville. Missouri could be in trouble again, facing a senior-dominated starting frontcourt led by Casey Prather and Patric Young that averages 32 points and 17.3 rebounds. By contrast, the Tigers’ starting frontcourt — freshman Johnathan Williams III and sophomore Ryan Rosburg — average 11.1 points and 11.8 rebounds.

• ABOUT FLORIDA (19-2, 8-0 SEC): The Gators are loaded with depth and experience. Missouri coach Frank Haith believes coach Billy Donovan’s crew is capable of winning another national title. Florida is particularly gritty on defense, allowing only 57.4 points per game. That ranks sixth in the nation, but the Gators have been even better in SEC play, permitting only 55.1 points, which would lead the nation. During the last three games, including a 69-36 win Saturday against Texas A&M, Florida is allowing an absurd 42.7 points. Prather leads the SEC in field-goal percentage (.626) and, despite coming off the bench, sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith is the Gators’ top rebounder (7.8).

• BOTTOM LINE: The Gators own a two-game lead ahead of Kentucky and Mississippi in the SEC standings and have won 13 consecutive games. Of course, Missouri boasts arguably the hottest player in the nation, junior Jabari Brown. Brown has topped 20 points in six straight games, including a career-high 33 points Saturday in a loss to Kentucky. It matches the Tigers’ longest streak since Doug Smith scored at least 20 in nine straight games during the 1990-91 season. Brown is shooting 60.3 percent from the field (47 of 68) and 65.7 percent from three-point range (23 of 35) in the last six games.

P No. Missouri Ht. Yr. PPG
F 3 Johnathan Williams III 6-9 Fr. 6.5
F 44 Ryan Rosburg 6-10 So. 4.6
G 5 Jordan Clarkson 6-5 Jr. 18.9
G 32 Jabari Brown 6-5 Jr. 20.4
G 33 Earnest Ross 6-5 Sr. 14.2
P No. Florida Ht. Yr. PPG
F 15 Will Yeguete 6-8 Sr. 5.2
F 24 Casey Prather 6-6 Sr. 16.2
C 4 Patric Young 6-9 Sr. 10.6
G 5 Scottie Wilbekin 6-2 Sr. 11.9
G 20 Michael Frazier II 6-4 So. 12.6
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