February 21, 2012; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton (1) reacts after making a three pointer during the first half against the Auburn Tigers at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The No. 16 Florida Gators take on the Vanderbilt Commodores tonight in a battle for second place in the SEC.
The No. 16 Florida Gators (22-7) have hit a late-season slide. Peaking as high as No. 8 back in early February, the Gators have slid down the polls after some disappointing losses and mediocre showings. Recently, the Gators lost by 22 points to the unranked Georgia Bulldogs this past Saturday, and they will have to play the remainder of the season without Will Yeguete, who had surgery to repair his broken foot.
Florida will attempt to put all that behind them tonight, when they face Vanderbilt at 9:00pm EST. The Vanderbilt Commodores (20-9) are currently in third place in the SEC, sitting right behind the Florida Gators, so a win tonight would allow the Gators to clinch the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt is also coming off a tough loss, as they fell to No. 1 Kentucky in their most recent game.
This should be a tough match-up for both teams, and it will be interesting to see if the Gators can pull themselves together after Yeguete's injury. Losing him for the rest of the season certainly was a blow, but they should have enough depth to compensate and not fall apart down the stretch. Well, in theory at least.
For more on the Gators, drop by SB Nation's blog on Florida, Alligator Army.