Tale of the tape
Bulldogs Try Not To Get Chomped In The Swamp: Mississippi State At #2 Florida
|Rick Ray is in his first year as a head coach. He was most recently an assistant at Clemson. He inherited a team that returned just two contributors from a group that greatly underachieved last year.||Coaching||Billy Donovan’s resume speaks for itself; what he’s done at Florida is remarkable. He came within a late collapse in the regional final from reaching his fourth Final Four last year. This year’s team is certainly capable of getting there.|
|Like Florida, Mississippi State is balanced, except the scoring totals are lower. The Bulldogs are a bottom-tier offensive team and shoot poorly from beyond the arc—just 28 percent.||Offense||Pick your poison against the Gators, who can score inside and out and always have multiple three-point threats on the floor. They are balanced, too, with five players averaging between 9.5 and 13.2 points.|
|Teams with decent offenses haven’t had trouble scoring on Mississippi State. They don’t register many blocks or steals, but the Bulldogs have managed to force turnovers at an above-average rate.||Defense||Florida’s offensive firepower can mask the fact that this team ranks No. 1 in the country in defensive efficiency, allowing just .81 points per possession. The Gators clean up on the defensive boards.|
|Ray has a true eight-man rotation, as three players off the bench get significant minutes. That’s not counting Wendell Lewis, a key senior who has been injured since early December.||Bench Depth||Donovan can turn to junior forward Will Yeguete or freshman guard Michael Frazier, a 46 percent three point shooter, when he wants to give his starters some rest. Keep an eye on Yeguete, however, as he left Tuesday’s game with a knee injury.|
The winner is
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