Cuonzo Martin on loss to Kentucky
When/where: 3 p.m. Saturday, O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.
TV/radio: ESPNU; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
About Missouri (12-13, 3-10 SEC): Missouri rallied in the second half on Tuesday and lost by eight to No. 4 Kentucky after Cuonzo Martin called out the Tigers at halftime for their effort. After being opposed to playing a four-guard lineup for most of the season, Martin has seen enough (or lack thereof) from the power forward position to elect for a smaller lineup. Ronnie Suggs led Missouri with 13 points in the loss to Kentucky and Martin doesn’t see his playing time going anywhere. After taking an elbow to the head on Tuesday, Mitchell Smith is expected to play in Gainesville.
About Florida (15-11, 7-6 SEC): Florida has a lot of similarities to Missouri, as an up-and-down season has led to some disappointment with hope for the future. The Gators have their floor general of the future in Andrew Nembhard, a borderline five-star recruit out of high school, along with fellow freshmen Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson. Seniors KeVaughn Allen and Kevarrius Hayes are a pair of senior leaders who have proved to be invaluable for coach Mike White, after combining for 31 points in the Gators upset over No. 13 LSU on Wednesday.
Prediction: Florida is considered one of the better defensive teams in the nation and Missouri is already a team that struggles to score. That’s not an ideal matchup. But the Tigers get more out of their four-guard lineup and play with fire after Martin’s pep talk. Missouri 65, Florida 64