When the college basketball seasons began, the Big 3 teams for the SEC were Florida, traditional powerhouse Kentucky, and the newcomers Missouri. Of those three teams, Florida was considered the weakest because they didn't have a truly dominating player.
As the first week of SEC play has happened, Florida managed to separate itself from the other contenders. Kentucky, which was playing it's usual assortment of ultra-talented freshmen, was struggling to form a sense of chemistry and play basketball as a team. Missouri, despite playing quite well for the majority of the year, lost to Ole Miss and UCLA. Both of these teams are having trouble with their point guards, Missouri's being depth behind their star guard Phil Pressey while Kentucky is struggling to find their starting point man.
Meanwhile, Florida (12-2) have started out the season on a hot start, losing only to Arizona and Kansas State. They have had victories against Georgia, Marquette and Florida State with point margins of over 25 points. They have an extremely balanced attack with four players who score in double figures. They are currently ranked 1st by Ken Pomeroy's KenPom.com and have really flown under the radar while other programs like Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana have stolen the headlines.
How Missouri Can Win
The Tigers will once again have to rely on their tried and true formula of shooting 3 pointers and then dominating the glass. While Florida is a relatively good rebounding team, 2 of their 3 important big men are playing with some sort of injury. Only star Patric Young, a very talented rebounder himself, is truly healthy. This game might as well come down on how well Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross can shoot the deep ball effectively. Anything over 50% should help the Tigers stay competitive. On defense, the Tigers have to be sure to force turnovers and pump up the pace of the game. Florida plays at a very slow deliberate speed which is very conducive to their pseudo-Princeton offense.
How Florida Can Win
The swingmen, specifically Kenny Boyton will have to continue to ride their recent hot streak and continue to convert their shots. Missouri will not give opponents too many second opportunities so the Gators will have to make do with one shot per possession. With Lawrence Bowers and Tony Criswell out for this game the match up that will most likely decide this game will be Patric Young vs. Alex Oriakhi. Both are very strong post players with terrific rebounding skills. Patric Young has a more polished offensive game, but Oriakhi makes up for it on the defensive end. Should be a fun game to watch.