Conference play starts for Bama, Florida

Alabama (7-5, 0-0) vs. Florida (8-4, 0-0)

Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida; Saturday, 6 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Alabama and Florida meet in the first SEC game of the season for both teams. In conference play last season, Alabama finished with eight wins and 10 losses, while Florida won nine games and lost nine.

STEPPING UP: Kerry Blackshear Jr. has averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds to lead the way for the Gators. Keyontae Johnson has paired with Blackshear and is producing 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The Crimson Tide are led by Kira Lewis Jr., who is averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists.LOVE FOR LEWIS JR.: K. Lewis has connected on 33.3 percent of the 60 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 6 of 22 over his last five games. He’s also made 78.4 percent of his foul shots this season.

STREAK SCORING: Florida has won its last three home games, scoring an average of 80.3 points while giving up 63.3.

ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Crimson Tide have recently converted buckets via assists more often than the Gators. Florida has 42 assists on 86 field goals (48.8 percent) across its past three outings while Alabama has assists on 54 of 98 field goals (55.1 percent) during its past three games.

PACE OF PLAY: The upbeat Alabama offense has averaged 78.1 possessions per game, the sixth-most in Division I. Florida has operated at a slower pace and is averaging only 66.9 possessions per game (ranked 304th, nationally).