Florida-Arkansas Preview

After struggling on the road earlier this season, Florida has

picked up the pace in opposing arenas.

While the 14th-ranked Gators have controlled this series of

late, they’re likely to have their hands full against an Arkansas

team that’s been almost unbeatable at home.

Hoping to have its top two reserves available, Florida tries for

an eighth win in nine meetings with the Razorbacks as the teams

square off in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

The Gators (20-6, 8-3 SEC) dropped their first four true road

games but have taken three of four away from home, with their only

loss coming 78-58 to No. 1 Kentucky on Feb. 7.

While Arkansas (17-9, 5-6) remains winless on the road, it’s

been dominant on its own court. The Razorbacks have won 15 straight

by an average of 14.6 points at Bud Walton Arena, where they’re

17-1.

Arkansas, though, doesn’t carry much momentum into Saturday’s

matchup after suffering a 77-58 loss at Tennessee on Wednesday.

“Every game’s a big game and I wanna see how we respond coming

off of a tough loss to Tennessee,” coach Mike Anderson said.

“(Florida’s) got depth, they got a good basketball team … let’s

see if we can be better, see if we can get that taste out of our

mouth.”

The Gators could be close to full strength with forward Will

Yeguete (concussion) and guard Mike Rosario (hip pointer) possibly

returning to action. Both were held out of Tuesday’s 61-52 win at

Alabama.

“(Yeguete’s) not cleared to play yet, so a lot’s going to depend

on what happens here in practice,” coach Billy Donovan said Friday.

“How he feels tonight, (Saturday) morning’s going to have a large

impact on whether or not we can play him.”

Guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker were held to a combined

14 points on 3-of-14 shooting Tuesday, including a 1-of-10 effort

from 3-point range.

Leading the nation with 264 made 3-pointers, the Gators could be

in for another long night from beyond the arc versus Arkansas,

which is holding opponents to 27.5 percent from long distance

during its home winning streak.

The Razorbacks have won all three home meetings versus Top 25

foes this season, and a win Saturday would certainly bolster their

NCAA tournament resume.

“Our guys have really gave our fans something to cheer about,

especially when they play at home,” Anderson said.

“It should be a great atmosphere … hopefully we can raise our

play up to the level we’ve played throughout the year.”

While Arkansas has to like its chances of keeping things going

in front of its home crowd, it hasn’t experienced much success

versus the Gators of late.

The Razorbacks have dropped seven of eight in the series, the

last four by an average of 16.8 points. Arkansas fell 75-43 in

Gainesville on Jan. 22, 2011, in the last matchup.

Former Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey, in his second stint as an

assistant for Florida, makes his first trip back to campus since he

was fired last March after four years with the program.

“I circled this game when we first got the calendar,” Razorbacks

sophomore Mardracus Wade said. “So, I know it’s going to be a lot

of noise. He’s going to want to come in here and get a win, but at

the same time, we’re going to try to go at him, too. This is our

house and we want to defend it.”