Florida hoops' new coach Mike White makes his Oxford homecoming Saturday night as Ole Miss plays host to the Gators for the first of a home-and-home set this season. Last year's Oxford-Gainesville twofer tipped the way of Ole Miss, which snatched a pair of last-second wins from Billy Donovan, one of which was aided by a miracle Stefan Moody three.
You should read this IMO
You should read this IMO
But recent history slips in pertinence to the more pressing matter of White's return to Ole Miss, where he played point guard from 1995-1999. He served as an assistant coach for the Rebels in 2004, where he weathered the coaching change from Barnes to Andy Kennedy in March 2006. White stayed on with AK and crew until 2011, whence he took his talents to Louisiana Tech for four seasons.
"It'll be a fun experience for us to see The Pavilion," White said on the SEC coaches teleconference Monday. "I'm proud of what's been accomplished there at my alma mater and the excitement that's surrounding the program.
"We thought it would just be a matter of time. I think the success that Andy had his first few years kind of rejuvenated the administration and the fan base."
#Gators touch down at Oxford airport. Former Ole Miss manager here to greet an old friend, with an old artifact. pic.twitter.com/vq7cULvX2T— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) January 16, 2016
Now in his first season as the head coach of the Gators, White has some strictly proverbially large shoes now that Billy Donovan's coaching in the NBA. To his credit, Mike has the Gators sitting at 10-6 (2-2 SEC) thus far in his tenure, the same mark Donovan had this time last season.
Florida no longer enjoys the services of sharp-shooter Michael Frazier and his 12.1 points per game, but senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith is still good for 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing. No one on the Gators' young roster approaches Moody's SEC-leading 24.4 points per game, but Florida's 42.1 rebounds per game trumps Ole Miss' 38.9. Sebastian Saiz and Martavious Newby certainly have their work cut out for them.
Following the late-game disaster in Baton Rouge Wednesday, Ole Miss slipped to No. 94 in Ken Pomeroy's latest calculus. Florida, on the other hand, is soaring up at No. 28, buoyed by the sixth best strength of schedule rating and a stalwart No. 6 defensive rating of 90.2 points allowed per 100 possessions. The Rebs hold a slight advantage in scoring average at 75.8 to 72.5 points per game, but defense may spell the difference Saturday: Florida is allowing just 63.9 points per night to the Rebels' 71.3.
This'll undoubtedly turn ugly if Moody pulls a 20-minute disappearing act on either side of halftime.
How to watch:
Game Time: 7 p.m. CT
Online Streaming: WatchESPN