College Hoops

Behind enemy lines with Gators Wire

Behind enemy lines with Gators Wire

No. 2 Tennessee (18-3, 7-1 SEC) will play at Florida (12-9, 5-3 SEC) Wednesday.

Tipoff between the Vols and Gators is slated for 7 p.m. EST. ESPN2 will televise the Southeastern Conference matchup.

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Florida, 80-58, dating to 1927. The Gators hold a 36-26 advantage versus Tennessee in Gainesville, Florida.

Tennessee is 8-2 versus the Gators under head coach Rick Barnes. Barnes’ first season at Tennessee was the 2015-16 campaign. Barnes and Tennessee enter Wednesday’s contest with a three-game win-streak versus Florida.

Tennessee enters the contest ranked No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll. The Vols are 69 points behind No. 1 Purdue (21-1, 10-1 Big Ten).

Ahead of Wednesday’s matchup, Adam Dubbin, managing editor of Gators Wire, previewed the contest.

Overall, I’m fairly content with the job Golden has done, but he has not really shown much of an upgrade over Mike White just yet. The results on the court have been lacking and the recruiting front has not exactly been on fire either, but it is difficult to judge a new staff on just a half-season worth of work. I still have plenty of patience with him — but I’m not sure how much rope the fanbase is willing to give him.

I have to say it has not gone quite as well as I had hoped, but it is also not yet time to push the panic button. Florida underwent another major roster overhaul prior to the season and I’m not convinced all of the players on the roster have bought into Golden’s scheme, but when the players gel together this team is capable of winning some big games.

Really, it’s Colin Castleton who has led the way on both ends of the floor. He leads the Gators with 14.9 points per game, while leading the SEC (and third in the nation) in blocks per game (3.2) and sitting in sixth place in the conference in rebounds per game (7.6). However, the 6-foot-11-inch center does not exactly have the body for the next level and is often bullied around the basket by bigger bodies.

I do believe they can but it is a very steep hill to climb. First and foremost, Florida needs to become a top recruiting destination like it was under Donovan before we can talk about trophies – something that Mike White proverbially dropped the ball on. If it does happen, it will not be in the next two-to-three years.

The Vols are just too much for…

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