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1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET9:00 PM GMT5:00 PM 北京时间2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST, Feb 9, 2019
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee  Attendance: 22,261

No. 1 Tennessee still looking to improve vs. Florida

Tennessee has found different ways to challenge itself during its 13-game win streak.

The No. 1 Volunteers (21-1, 9-0 SEC) will try to maintain their edge Saturday at home against Florida.

Tennessee is coming off a 72-60 home victory against Missouri on Tuesday. But Tennessee coach Rick Barnes was concerned about his team's effort on the glass against the Tigers. Missouri outrebounded the Vols 36-34 and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

"It was a game where both teams played really hard and it was a very physical game," Barnes said. "You really kind of expect that this time of year and, if anything else, you expect it to get even tougher."

With a showdown against No. 5 Kentucky at Rupp Arena looming in a week, Barnes is looking for the Vols to display more toughness, beginning Saturday against the Gators.

Tennessee beat Florida 78-67 earlier this season in Gainesville. It was a one-possession game in the closing two minutes before the Vols pulled away with a 9-0 run in the final 44 seconds. Tennessee senior forward Admiral Schofield celebrated the win by doing the Gator Chomp towards the Florida student section.

Barnes said the Vols will need to prepare for Florida's changing defensive looks and perimeter shooting. Florida leads in the SEC in scoring defense, giving up 63.4 points per game.

"They'll change defenses and they'll try to disguise some things where they'll show one thing and go to something else really quick," Barnes said. "Transition defense will be very important, rebounding, again, there will be a lot of long rebounds coming out of it. But changing defenses, we'll have to handle that."

With junior forward and leading scorer Grant Williams drawing more attention on double teams, Tennessee has been able to spread the wealth offensively. Point guard Jordan Bone had 11 points and 7 assists in the Missouri win, while junior guard Jordan Bowden scored 12 points off the bench. Junior guard Lamonte Turner chipped in with 9 points.

"Those three guys are unbelievably important because they get most of the workload on the perimeter," Barnes said. "It goes back to day one, though, when we said we need them all. I like to think we haven't played our best basketball yet. I just hope we can keep working towards that."

Tennessee reserve sophomore swingman Yves Pons (3.2 points per game) will not play after suffering a facial when he collided into a teammate at practice this week.

Florida (12-10, 4-5) is looking to get back on track after losing consecutive games to Auburn and Kentucky. The Gators are seeking their first victory over a No. 1 team since beating No. 1 Ohio State 84-75 in the 2007 NCAA Finals to win their second of back-to-back national titles.

Florida is 0-5 against ranked teams this season and 10-19 against ranked teams in head coach Mike White's four-year tenure. The Gators have been unable to get on track offensively this season, ranking 13th in the SEC in scoring offense (68.7 ppg) and last in field goal percentage (42.2).

White said the Gators have to get back to doing the little things, such as diving for loose balls on the floor and blocking out for rebounds on missed throws, to make up for their lack of scoring punch.

"Good teams execute the important things," White said. "This current Gator team doesn't do that very well."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 8, 2019

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