Basketball

MBB: Previewing Mercer

Why this could be the night that KeyVaughn Allen makes it into the Top-20 in the program’s scoring ranks:

Photo via Getty Images

The Florida Gators will host the Mercer Bears at Exactech Arena on Tuesday. The Bears are coming into the game with a record of 4-6, including going winless on the last three games, most recently losing to Georgia Southern by 15.

On the other hand, Florida has had 10 days off and are coming off a four point loss to a top-ten ranked Michigan State squad. Now that finals week is completed, and Mike White‘s team has had 10 days of practice and to regroup to prepare for Mercer, I expect the Gators to come out with some fire in this one.

Mercer currently leads UF in the all time series 7-6 however, the last meeting ended in a 76-54 blow out win for the Gators in a neutral site game in Jacksonville.

What to expect from the Bears?

Mercer is the winningest program in the state of Georgia over the past decade winning 200-plus games since the 2008-’09 season. With Bob Hoffman at the helm, Mercer has had at least 19 wins in six different seasons since taking over in 2008. Hoffman is an outstanding coach when it comes to creating an offensive game plan and scoring isn’t something his teams often struggles with. This season, Mercer has four players averaging in double figures in Ross Cummings (13.5), Djordje Dimitrijevic (12.2), Jaylen Stowe (11.6) and Ethan Stair (10.1).

Defense on the other hand is a weak spot for the Bears. Mercer seriously lacks height with their tallest starter measuring at only 6’7.

How the Gators can win:

Bob Hoffman likes to rebound and stop the offensive team from penetrating the lane. Unfortunately for the Bears that will be to Florida’s advantage. The Gators have the size inside with Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone to get those rebounds over a shorter, thinner, and an overall weaker Bears team.

The Gators will have the green light from three, as not only are they loaded with shooters, but Mercer’s defense will have to make adjustments if they want to be able to defend the perimeter.

Due to Mercer looking for answers down low defensively, look for freshman Noah Locke to have another good game. KeVaughn Allen is just 27 points shy of passing Brett Nelson (’99-’03) for 20th on Florida’s all time leading scorers list and could have a big game. Allen currently sits at 1,390 points. Allen and Jalen Hudson have the perfect game to find their rhythm again, and hopefully can carry the momentum from beating Mercer into the remainder of the non-conference schedule and into SEC play.

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