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Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Takes on Florida on the Road

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss men’s basketball heads down to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Gators on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (10-15, 2-10 SEC) is coming off a hard-fought 64-61 loss to South Carolina at home on Saturday. The Rebels were led in scoring by Tye Fagan with 17 points.

The Ole Miss defense currently averages 68.1 points allowed per game, only letting their opponents top 70 points eight times this year. A major part of their defensive identity has been enforcing the paint, as the Rebels rank 39th in the country in blocks per game (4.5). They are l ed down low by senior transfers Theo Akwuba (30 total blocks, 1.2 per game) and Jayveous McKinnis (27 total blocks, 1.1 per game).

Florida enters Wednesday night’s game with a 13-12 overall record, and an even 6-6 mark in conference play. They began their inaugural season under head coach Todd Golden with a pair of wins over Stony Brook and Kennesaw State before falling to Florida Atlantic. After defeating Florida State, the Gators went 1-2 at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament with a win over Oregon State and losses to Xavier and West Virginia. Entering their SEC opener at No. 20 Auburn with a 7-5 record, they lost two straight before defeating Georgia, LSU and Missouri. A loss to Texas A&M came before wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina, before Florida fell to No. 5 Kansas State in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. Following a 67-54 upset over No. 2 Tennessee, Florida lost three-straight to Kentucky, No. 3 Alabama, and Vanderbilt.

The team is led by fifth-year forward Colin Castleton with a 16.5 points per game average on the season, pacing the team in rebounding as well at 7.9 per outing. The big man also ranks second on the team in assists with 67, and leads the team in steals (23) and blocks (an SEC-best 75, and fourth-most in the nation).

Paced by Castleton, the Gators rank fifth in the country and lead the conference with 5.8 blocks per game. They also rank among the top-100 in defensive rebounds per game (27.6, No. 21 NCAA), opponent field goal percentage (40.2, No. 26 NCAA), turnovers per game (11.1, No. 43 NCAA), free throws made per game (15.0, No. 48 NCAA), and free throw attempts per game (20.5, No. 60 NCAA). Florida has had difficulty shooting from deep this year, as they enter Wednesday’s game ranked 308th in the NCAA with a 31.4 shooting percentage from three, and grabbing offensive rebounds, as they enter ranked last in the SEC at 8.5 per game.

Wednesday’s matchup will be the 118th meeting between Ole Miss and Florida, with the Gators owning a 69-48 lead in the all-time series. The home team owns the advantage on each campus, as Florida leads in Gainesville 41 wins to 13, and the Rebels lead 31 wins to 23. The Gators have gotten the better of Ole Miss recently, as they lead 7-3 over the last 10.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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