How great was that road trip?
Our Aggies ground out an ugly victory in Starkville and flat stole a game in Knoxville to finish a 2-0 week that saw them vault six spots to #15 in the AP Top 25. In addition, results around the league left our 3-0 Aggies standing alone atop the SEC.
Ranked. First place. These are words and phrases. If we use them often enough, they might even start to feel normal.
Let's break it down.
The Gators are battle-tested
Florida probably had the toughest non-conference slate in the SEC. Michigan State, Purdue, Miami, Florida State, and Oklahoma State... along with non-power darlings Richmond and St. Josephs. That is one hell of a gauntlet.
The Gators also drew a much tougher opening to SEC play, bracketing their trip to Tennessee with two much tougher games (Georgia, LSU) than ours (MSU, Arkansas). The aggregate result may be unremarkable (10-5), but it's a team that hasn't seen many easy victories to date and hasn't been blown out, with one exception (at Tennessee).
And finally, they'll be the best SEC squad we've faced to date.
What do the numbers tell us?
|Aggies (SEC Rank)||Statistic||Gators (SEC Rank)|
|80.1 (5th)||Points||72.8 (11th)|
|47.3% (2nd)||FG %||41.4% (14th)|
|38.3% (3rd)||3PT %||28.3% (14th)|
|65.1% (11th)||FT %||61.6% (14th)|
|39.0 (7th)||RPG||42.1 (2nd)|
|13.3 (4th)||ORPG||14.5 (1st)|
|19.2 (1st)||Assists||12.6 (11th)|
|12.8 (9th)||Turnovers||10.4 (1st)|
In short, the Gators are defensive-minded. Which is a nice way of saying that they couldn't hit a barn if they were throwing basketballs at backboards and rims and nets shaped like barns. Metaphors.
Their defense and rebounding really is outstanding, though. It's a classic matchup of competing strengths, and it should be fun to watch these teams collide at Reed.
A few fun notes ahead of tonight's tip:
- We haven't won seven games in a row in five years (currently sitting on a streak of six).
- We haven't started a conference season at 4-0 in nine years (currently sitting at 3-0).
- We just scored our highest amount of regulation points on the road (92) in eleven years.
- Alex Caruso is the NCAA active leader with 235 steals. He is 8-11 from beyond the arc in his last three games.
- Anthony Collins is the NCAA active leader with 643 assists. He has a 21-3 assist-to-TO ratio in his last three games.
This team is fun to watch, they play with relentless energy, and they're accomplishing things that we haven't seen in quite some time. Get to Reed for tonight's 6pm tip and give these guys the support they deserve.