Gators, Seminoles trending in different directions in conference play

The University of Florida and Florida State basketball teams are headed in opposite directions.

The Gators (12-4, 4-0 in the SEC) are on a six-game winning streak as they travel to Ole Miss (9-7, 2-2) on Saturday to play the Rebels at 1 p.m. (CBS).

The 24th-ranked Seminoles (12-4, 1-3) have failed to build on their victory over defending national champion North Carolina 10 days ago and play host to Syracuse (12-5, 1-3) at 2 p.m. coming off losses to Miami and Louisville, by a combined 10 points.

The latter defeat especially stung FSU: it snapped a 28-game home winning streak, which had been the third-longest in the nation.

An impressive victory over Ole Miss could vault the Gators back into the AP poll. UF can go to 5-0 in the SEC for the second season in a row, and for the eighth time in school history.

The Gators have battled injuries and a flu bug that has swept the team to win with old-school basketball. Florida leads the SEC in turnover margin (plus 5.1) and steals per game (7.6) and are second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and free-throw shooting (.767).

UF has three of the top foul shooters in the SEC, led by Egor Koulechov’s conference-leading .939. Chris Chiozza is second in the SEC in assists (5.9) and assist-to-turnovers (3.0).

Those strengths for the Gators have been the weaknesses for the Seminoles. FSU is 14th in the ACC in free-throw percentage (.667) and seventh in assist-to-turnovers (1.18). The ‘Noles also have the second-most turnovers in the league (14.0 per game).

Florida State got some encouragement, however, from the return of 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje after he missed 12 games with a stress fracture in his right foot. Koumadje had eight points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes against Louisville, making 4 of 5 shots from the floor.

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