WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators sat 44th prior to Wednesday’s tip, giving them the sixth-best NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rating in the SEC, which is expected to improve slightly. They remain fifth in league standings with Kentucky, but are poised for one of the toughest games in program history, pitting three of the next four against ranked opponents Associated Press Top 5. The next two weeks, with three out of four going against some real powerhouses, will be instrumental in determining where this season (and postseason) ends.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: We’ll come back to Jones shortly. In the meantime, let’s say hello to the senior center Jason Jitobohwho has been signed for a longer season since the second striker Alex Fudge left Saturday’s Mississippi State win eight seconds into the second half after a nasty collision in which an attempted charge was made. This time Jitoboh had to spell out Castleton, who struggled with fouls in the first half, and played nine first-half minutes to give his team a second-half bridge. The 6-foot-11, 300-pounder finished with five points and two rebounds in 15 minutes before fouling long after the game decided.
AMAZING STATISTICS: Jones was awfully close to joining Corey Brewer, Nick Calathes and Chris Chiozza the only player in Florida basketball history to record triple doubles. Jones has 25 assists and just three turnovers in SEC play and now has a 55-plus on court in his last six games.
NEXT: Florida (12-8, 5-3) joins 11 other league teams in Saturday’s conference game exit for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Gators are, of course, dispatched to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on fifth-ranked Kansas State (17-3, 6-2), marking an emotional reunion with the former standout forward Keyontae Johnsonwhose plight at UF is well documented and leading up to this one will be again.