The Florida basketball team likely won’t be at full strength for Saturday’s game against LSU in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Guard Michael Frazier II could miss his fourth game in a row with a right ankle injury and forward Dorian Finney-Smith is expected to sit out a second game after being suspended indefinitely on Wednesday.
Frazier and Dorian-Smith are the Gators’ top two scorers.
Frazier, who is averaging 13.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, was sidelined for a third straight game Wednesday night when Florida edged Vanderbilt 50-47. The 6-foot-4 junior was injured in a loss to top-ranked Kentucky on Feb. 7.
Finney-Smith, a 6-8 junior forward, was suspended by coach Billy Donovan for a violation of team rules and missed the Vanderbilt game. Donovan said Finney-Smith, who averages 12.9 points and 5.8 rebounds, will likely miss more games.
LSU coach Johnny Jones is still wary of Florida (13-13, 6-7 SEC) after the shorthanded Gators held on to beat Vanderbilt.
“They did an excellent job of maybe not having much depth as they normally would,” Jones said. “I thought the guys who stepped in did an excellent job of making shots and making plays down the stretch. … To win the game right there at the end tells you the mental focus they have on that team.”
No shying away
While LSU is clearly on the bubble to make the NCAA tournament, the Tigers were still on the updated bracket by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi on Thursday.
LSU was assigned the No. 11 seed against sixth-seeded SMU in the West regional by Lunardi. The Tigers were also 51st in the ESPN.com RPI, while they were 54th on NCAA.com.
While they’re only projections, Jones said he wants his team to know where it stands.
“It’s good to be tuned in and understand the big picture of what you’re trying to do and explaining to them what that’s all about and the difference,” he said, “and being one of those 68 teams and how important it is and how you get there.
“For us, it’s winning and what do we have to do to make sure we secure one of those spots. … Individually, what is it that you can do to allow us collectively to get to where we’re trying to go. That’s what we talk about.”
The 200 Club
It went largely unnoticed because LSU didn’t win, but forward Jordan Mickey rejected two shots Tuesday night against Texas A&M to join Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in school history with 200 career blocks.
Mickey, who leads the SEC with 94 blocks this season to go with 106 a year ago, joined O’Neal in the 200 club when he swatted away a shot by Tonny Trocha-Morelos with 14:54 to play in the second half.
O’Neal piled up 412 blocks in his three-year LSU career.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter: @MicklesAdvocate.