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Game Preview: Florida travels to Texas A&M looking for fifth-straight win

It took overtime for Florida to pull off a massive upset over Kentucky on the road Wednesday, but now the Gators must regroup and take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday in search of a fifth-straight win.

All the momentum is on Florida’s side right now, but the Gators have a habit of playing down once they hit their stride. Todd Golden can’t afford to let his team become complacent after one big one, especially with the regular season starting to wind down.

The Aggies have somewhat underperformed since beginning conference play, splitting a home-and-home with LSU and falling to Ole Miss on Saturday. Still, TAMU won’t be an easy team to beat, especially with a homecourt advantage.

Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. Here’s everything you need to know about the game.

Starting lineup: Florida Gators

Player

Pos

H/W

Class

Min.

Pts.

Reb.

Walter Clayton Jr.

G

6-2/195

Junior

30.6

16.2

3.7

Zyon Pullin

G

6-4 /206

Sophomore

32.1

15.3

3.8

Will Richard

G

6-4 /206

Junior

29.3

11.6

4.1

Tyrese Samuel

F

6-10/239

Graduate

27.8

13.6

8.5

Micah Handlogten

C

7-1/235

Sophomore

20.1

7.3

7.8

 

Starting lineup: Texas A&M Aggies

Player

Pos

H/W

Class

Min.

Pts.

Reb.

Wade Taylor IV

G

6-0/175

Junior

32.0

20.0

3.7

Tyrece Radford

G

6-3/190

Graduate

30.8

13.0

5.6

Jace Carter

G

6-6/220

Junior

23.7

6.6

5.3

Solomon Washington

F

6-7/220

Sophomore

20.3

5.3

5.0

Wilden Leveque

F

6-11/250

Graduate

11.9

2.1

3.4

Key Player: Tyrese Samuel

Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Samuel’s 22 points and 13 rebounds were a massive reason the Gators came away with the victory in overtime earlier this week, and Florida will need him to do it again facing a smaller Texas A&M lineup. There are no 7-footers to deal with, so Samuel could be in for another massive night if he dominates the paint once again.

Key Player: Wade Taylor IV

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wade Taylor is the offensive leader of this team. He’s averaging 20 points a night and the Aggies tend to come up short when he does as well. No team lives and dies by one player, but it’s a lot harder for TAMU to win when Taylor isn’t on his game.

Hopefully, Florida’s deep guard rotation can tire him out early and neutralize his impact on the game.

Prediction

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

After watching Florida pull off the upset over Kentucky, the Gators have to be the pick here. Still, it won’t be an easy win, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Texas A&M kept it close into the second half.

If Samuel can put together another 20-10 night, though, the Orange and Blue should be able to put this one away.

Prediction: Florida 84, Texas A&M 80

BPI Prediction

Using the Basketball Power Index, ESPN is giving the Texas A&M Aggies 66.0% odds to come out on top by a projected 4.4 points over the Gators. The matchup quality earns an 87.2-point grade, putting it eighth among the games being played on Saturday.

Gators an underdog at TAMU per Basketball Power Index prediction

 

How to Watch

Read more

Florida gets tidy boost in NET rankings after Kentucky road win

Gators inch up Basketball Power Index after big OT win over UK

Gators climb KenPom rankings after big OT win over Kentucky

Florida sneaks onto USA TODAY’s bracketology bubble after Kentucky win

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire