Florida’s shot at redemption arrives on Tuesday afternoon when the Florida A&M Rattlers visit the O’Dome in search of the program’s first win in 2023. The last time the two schools met on the hardwood last season, the Gators came out victorious, 102-62.
The Gators displayed the ability the hang around with a perennial March Madness competitor that is Virginia, and a victory over the Rattlers will be a positive swing of the pendulum for the Gators before they head into the real meat of the 2023 campaign.
Here’s what to look out for when the two in-state basketball programs tip off.
Expected Starters: Florida Gators
Expected Lineup: Florida A&M Rattlers
Key Player: Will Richard
The Florida Gators found a solid dynamic after just two games this year, even while having to rush building the team’s chemistry with eight transfers making their way to UF during the offseason.
Head coach Todd Golden is looking like he gained a Master’s degree in chemistry as he has the team clicking on most cylinders. Junior guard Will Richard is one of the many reasons the team has been blending so well and his performance against the Virginia Cavaliers is a sign of good things to come.
Richards worked the floor to collect 16 points and went 4-for-7 from beyond the three-point line to keep the Gators close against Virginia. The sophomore earned his redemption after turning the ball over by earning a steal in clutch time as well.
The Gators are slowly building and finding their identity with a very young squad. Richards’ teammates like sophomores Riley Kugel or Micah Handlogten may have a strong night as well to keep the Gators ahead on the scoreboard.
Key Player: K'Jei Parker
Florida A&M freshman K’Jei Parker has made a name for himself early in the season and is the current leading scorer for the Rattlers.
Although he’s only made just above 30% of his shots, when Parker gets his hands on the rock, he’ll likely be the one to make a drive in the lane. The only part of his game where he seems to struggle is when he’s taking three-point shots, only converting one of his seven attempts.
Parker has 11 more shot attempts than the next Florida A&M scorer, showing his hunger to get to the basket. He’ll have a big challenge when lining up against UF’s Kugel or Richards, and even if he does win the matchup, Handlogten will still be in the paint for the extra hand.
The second home game of the season is an ideal place for the Gators to really get the wheels turning and find the team’s identity.
Florida A&M might try to take advantage of their hunger for its first win of the season, but the early chemistry from the Gators will lead the team to a much-needed win at home. Florida A&M has failed to hit the 60-point mark but they might find a few extra chances if the Rattlers can force a few turnovers.
We’re still expecting a large-margin Florida victory.
Florida 80, Florida A&M 60
How to Watch
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: SEC Network+
Radio: Gators IMG Sports Network
Live Stream: fuboTV (try it free)