College Basketball: Why Florida vs Florida St. Is the Game to Watch This Week

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2012

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 18:  Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators brings the ball up the court against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on November 18, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The game between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles has always been a game to watch in football, but over the past few seasons, both basketball programs have been in the national spotlight.

With all their success over the past few seasons, including a sweet 16 run in the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the Seminoles have not been able to beat their in-state rivals since their victory at home on December 7, 2008. 

Wednesday's game in Tallahassee has the perfect setup for the Seminoles to pull off an upset of the seventh-ranked Gators. 

Florida State comes into the game at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Wednesday with a record of 4-3. 

Those three losses have been ugly ones, starting with the loss on opening night to South Alabama on their home court. 

The other two losses that the Seminoles have suffered this season have been at the hands of Minnesota and Mercer, with both defeats occurring at home in the past week.

The loss to Minnesota is understandable as the Golden Gophers have had a dream start to the season, but a loss to the 4-4 Mercer Bears of the Atlantic Sun Conference is just plain unacceptable. 

Enter a Florida team who will be playing their first game of December on Wednesday and their second game in the last 10 days. They have another 10-day layoff ahead before a trip to Tucson to play Arizona. 

The Gators come into Tallahassee with a 6-0 record, coming off a 82-49 blowout win over Marquette in the SEC-Big East Challenge on Thursday. 

Billy Donovan's team also boasts a potential all-SEC guard in Kenny Boynton, who leads the team with 14.5 points per game early in the season. 

There is no doubt that the Gators will be coming into the game against their hated rivals with a ton of confidence, but that may be a bad thing versus a Seminoles team looking to prove themselves to the nation after three disappointing home losses.

There is no better way to restore a sense of pride in your team and give your fan base faith that the season is going to turn around than to beat your rivals at home. 

To win Wednesday's game, Florida State will have to see big performances from senior guard Michael Snaer and junior forward Okaro White, who are undoubtedly the two leaders on this team. 

The play of Snaer and White will decide how many wins the Seminoles will have this season, and what better way to rebound from two losses at home than to beat a bitter rival on the same home court?

For the Gators, they need strong play from the cast of characters surrounding Boynton in the lineup, including fellow seniors Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario, like they have all season if they want to victory against Florida State. 

Rivalry games usually bring the best out of both teams and the fans at the arena they are playing at, and the Sunshine State rivalry between Florida and Florida State will not disappoint in fulfilling the billing of a hard-fought rivalry game.

Prediction: Florida State 75, Florida 71

It will be a close game, but in the end the Seminoles need this win more than the Gators. They should be able to take out their frustration from their past two games out on Florida.