Gators Welcome No. 2 Mississippi State to Exactech Arena Thursday (7 pm ET)


For the second time in 14 days, Florida will face No. 2 Mississippi State as the Gators play host to the Bulldogs on Thursday at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center where tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Florida dropped the 90-53 decision in Starkville on Jan. 25 that halted the Gator’s two-game win streak.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Gators, who return to the competition court after playing at Missouri Monday evening. The Bulldogs also had a shortened prep week after defeating South Carolina, 67-53, in a rematch of last year’s national championship game.

Thursday’s game will be Florida’s fourth during a six-game stretch against nationally-ranked opponents.

The Home Stretch

  • Including Thursday’s game, only six games remain on Florida’s regular-season schedule before traveling to Nashville for the SEC Tournament, Feb. 28-March 4.

Check this Regular-Season-Ending Stretch!

  • The Gators are in the midst of a nine-game stretch against eight teams currently ranked in the top-25.
  • The run takes Florida through the end of the regular season:

o   Date / Opp / RPI thru games Feb. 6

o   Jan. 25   at #2 Mississippi St. – RPI 3

o   Jan. 28   #18 Georgia – RPI 20

o   Feb. 5    at Missouri – RPI 17

o   Feb. 8    #2 Mississippi State – RPI 3

o   Feb. 11  at #7 South Carolina – RPI 21

o   Feb. 15  at #14 Texas A&M – RPI 15

o   Feb. 18  Vanderbilt – RPI 123

o   Feb. 22  #11 Tennessee – RPI 11

o   Feb. 25  #18 Georgia – RPI 20

Something in Common

  • Current Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin made Cameron Newbauer his first Gator head coaching hire since assuming his position in November 2016.
  • Before arriving in Gainesville, Stricklin was the AD at Mississippi State (2010-16), where he hired current Bulldogs Head Coach Vic Schaefer.
  • Stricklin’s second Gator coaching hire – football coach Dan Mullen, who spent the previous nine seasons (2009-17) as Mississippi State’s head coach.

Gators vs. Bulldogs: The Series

  • 47-Game Series: UF leads 25-22 (UF Home: 13-7; Away: 8-14; Neutral: 4-2)
  • Streak: Mississippi State has won the last four games in the series since Florida rattled off a nine-game streak.
  • Long Streak: The 47-game series against MSU is the eighth-longest in UF history.

Twice the SEC Fun

  • During the 2017-18 season’s 16-game SEC schedule, the Gators will play Georgia (their ‘permanent’ rival), Ole Miss and 2017 NCAA national-runner-up Mississippi State twice.

Florida vs. Ranked Teams

  • Florida has lost its last 11 games against nationally ranked teams, including five this season: Florida State (Nov. 17), Ohio State (Dec. 6), Mississippi State (Jan. 25), Georgia (Jan. 28) and at Missouri (Feb. 5).

Close Ones

  • Overall this season, the Gators have played 12 games decided by 10 points or less (4-8 record overall, 1-6 SEC).

Gators for THREEEEEE!

  • Entering Thursday’s game, the Gators are averaging 8.5 three-pointers per game and converting at a 31.3 percent clip.
  • Thru games played Feb. 6, UF ranks tied-No. 31 in the country in threes per game; and No. 26 in total three-pointers made (196).
  • Florida has converted double-digit threes in NINE games this year, most recently 10 vs. Kentucky (Jan. 11).

You Hit a 3 … and You Hit a 3 …

  • It took just six games for TEN of the 11 players on the scholarship roster to hit at least one trey this season.
  • SIX different Gators have totaled double-digit three-pointers this season.

If the season ended today after playing just 23 games …

  • The Gators’ 196 three-pointers would be the third-most in a season in program history.
  • UF is 24 shy of No. 2 (220 in 32 games in 2010) and 25 threes from tying the most in program history (221 in 32 games in 2009).
  • Florida’s 31.1 percent 3-point shooting effort would rank as the NINTH best in a season in program history.

What Else do the Gators do well?

Aside from hitting the three at an SEC-leading rate (all games):

  • Florida DOES NOT FOUL: The Gators rank No. 2 in the country in staying out of foul trouble, being whistled for just 12.5 fouls per game. It wasn’t until Florida’s 16th game of the season that a Gator (Delicia Washington) fouled out – and that didn’t happen until there was 2:45 remaining in the second-overtime period at Ole Miss!
  • REBOUND: Florida ranks No. 24 in the country for rebounds per game and No. 2 in SEC Games for rebounding offense.
  • Individually, Haley Lorenzen (No. 5), Delicia Washington (TNo. 6) and Paulina Hersler (No. 13) each rank among the SEC’s top-15 for rebounds per game.

What Just Happened

  • In a game that featured 10 lead changes and six tied scores, Florida matched No. 15 Missouri possession-for-possession and even had the ball with a chance to win it but a three-pointer at the buzzer fell short in a 66-64 loss at Mizzou Arena Monday.
  • The Gators defense held the Tigers without a score in the final minute and got the ball back with 12.1 seconds remaining. Florida set up for the final shot, but Mizzou’s defense gave the Gators fits and forced Haley Lorenzen to launch a deep three as the final horn sounded.
  • Florida held a lead in all four quarters with its last a 55-54 edge with 7:07 remaining.

Gator Watch

  • Through 23 games, Florida is averaging 68.0 points per game, with all five starters averaging double-figure scoring.
  • Top two Gator scorers: Funda Nakkasoglu (14.2 ppg), Paulina Hersler (12.3 ppg) and Haley Lorenzen (12.3 ppg)
  • Top two rebounders: Haley Lorenzen (9.5 pg) and Delicia Washington (8.8 pg)
  • Assists leaders: Delicia Washington (78 total, 3.4 pg) and Dyandria Anderson (67 total, 2.9 pg)

Who’s Hot!

  • During the last FOUR games, Haley Lorenzen is averaging a double-double, with 11.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.

As a Team, What’s Hot and What’s Not

  • HOT: Rebounding! Over the last four games, Florida holds a +6.8 rebounding advantage. The Gators have won the rebounding battle in the last six of the last seven games.
  • NOT: Over the last four games, Florida is averaging just 5.0 three-pointers per game and connecting on them at just a 23.3 percent clip.

What’s Next for the Gators

  • Florida begins a two-game road swing next week against nationally-ranked opponents.
  • The Gator’s first play at No. 7 and reigning NCAA champion South Carolina on Sunday, before playing at No. 14 Texas A&M on Thursday.

Game Day at a Glance

  • Who: Florida (10-13, 2-8 SEC) vs. No. 2 Mississippi State (25-0, 10-0 SEC)
  • Where: Exactech Arena (10,151) * Gainesville, Florida
  • WhenThu., February 8 * 7 pm ET
  • Tickets: Adult Special Game Promotion – $1 General Admission! Kids 12 & Under and UF Students – FREE!

Game Notes (PDF):

VIDEO Previews:

Gator Game Coverage & More!

  • Television: none
  • Streaming Video: WatchESPN app with Kyle Crooks & Brittany Davis


  • Radio: ESPN Gainesville 98.1FM / 850AM WRUF with Tom Collett and Jennifer George
  • Internet Audio: link thru (FREE)


  • Internet Scoring: LIVE thru


Opening Tip

  • Thursday’s game marks the second in 14 days between Florida and Mississippi State, which won the Jan. 25 decision in Starkville.
  • Florida is in game four of a six-game stretch against nationally-ranked opponents. The Gators next play at reigning NCAA champion and No. 7-ranked South Carolina.
  • Including Thursday’s game, only SIX games remain on Florida’s regular-season schedule before traveling to Nashville for the SEC Tournament.
  • Seven of UF’s last nine games have been decided by 10 points or less.

Additional Game Day Hoopla

  • $1 Days! – General Admission tickets and hot dogs at the concessions stand will be available for only $1.
  • Student Tailgate – Students can enjoy a tailgate area on the O’Connell Center practice court by Gate 3 complete with Krispy Kreme Donuts, giveaways, games and much more (Location-Practice Court)
  • Human Foosball – Grab your team and play a game of human foosball presented by We Fooz! (Location-Practice Court)
  • Gators Students Rewards Check-In – Students can check in at the meet via the Gators Students Rewards App to earn 4 points towards great prizes! Visit the app store to download the free app today!
  • Lil Gators Hip Hop Squad – Stay in your seats at halftime for a special performance by the Lil Gators Hip Hop Squad!

Gator Pronunciations for this Release:

  • DYANDRIA Anderson: dee-ANN-dree-uh
  • FUNDA NAKKASOGLU: FOON-da knock-a-SO-glue
  • DELICIA Washington: duh-LEE-shuh


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