Both teams will be without some key personnel when Florida hosts Vanderbilt in a battle of mid-pack Southeastern Conference teams Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (11-6, 2-3 SEC) will be without leading scorer and rebounder Colin Castleton, who sat out Wednesday's win over Mississippi State after injuring his shoulder running a one-on-one drill the day before. He has averages of 15.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
Florida coach Mike White called the injury "significant" after the 80-72 victory over the Bulldogs. According to a story on Florida's website Friday, Castleton is "sidelined indefinitely" with the shoulder injury and is not among Saturday's projected starters at Vanderbilt (10-7, 2-3).
"To beat Mississippi State without Colin Castleton, these guys should feel good about themselves," White said. "But we've got to get ready for a really good Vanderbilt team."
The Commodores have been without 7-foot Liam Robbins all season and Rodney Chatman has made only five appearances. One of them was in Vandy's 75-74 win at Arkansas on Jan. 4, where coach Jerry Stackhouse credited the junior's calming presence as crucial down the stretch.
Vandy has lost three of its four outings since beating the Razorbacks, the latest setback came Tuesday night to in-state rival Tennessee.
"Right now, as presently constructed, we've got to play almost perfect basketball," Stackhouse said after the 68-60 loss to the Vols. "And that doesn't happen all the time."
The Commodores have the top scorer in the league in Scotty Pippen Jr., the son of the former Chicago Bulls great, and have enjoyed success on the road. They are 4-1 on opponents' courts, including 2-0 in road SEC gyms.
But Florida has won the last seven meetings in the series, and senior Anthony Duruji is coming off a career-high 22-point performance in the Gators' win over Mississippi State. Duruji said their play was a sign that the Gators, who were ranked as high as No. 14 early in the season, had their swagger back.
White hopes it continues.
"Sometimes teams just deep down know," White said. "Sometimes your swagger can be affected in-game or from game-to-game."
--Field Level Media