GAINESVILLE — While Florida is expected to struggle Saturday against Florida State on the football field, the Gators have gotten the best of the Seminoles in men’s basketball in recent years.
Florida, 5-1 and ranked 15th in the latest Associated Press poll, will meet FSU (5-1) at 7:30 tonight at the O’Connell Center hoping for its fifth straight win in the series.
The Gators, with a 19-game home winning streak on the line, have won six of the last seven meetings in Gainesville.
“They are a very, very long and athletic team,’’ Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “They are playing very good basketball. They have played well all year long. They’ve got some experience. They’ve got some young guys. They can play really big if they want to or they can go with a small lineup. Okaro White is a multi-dimensional guy, an older guy that can play a lot of positions and do a lot of things, so they are a very, very good team.’’
The 6-foot-9 White (Clearwater High) leads FSU starters in scoring (14.3) and rebounding (7.5). He enters the game needing two points to reach 1,000 for his career.
The Gators won last year’s meeting 72-47 in Tallahassee, but the Noles have a win against VCU, ranked 10th at the time, and went into overtime with Michigan, currently ranked No. 22, before losing.
Like Donovan, UF’s Scottie Wilbekin likes playing FSU the same weekend as the annual football game.
“Yeah, I want to get a win against the Seminoles. ... I know some of the guys on that team. I played with Okaro in AAU, so I kind of have a good relationship with him,’’ Wilbekin said. “I think it’s important to beat the Seminoles.’’