Florida vs. Tennessee: Trae Golden Will Lead Vols to Upset of Gators

Lee SchechterContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2013

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has the Volunteers playing very good basketball at a key point of the season.
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has the Volunteers playing very good basketball at a key point of the season.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tennessee is the SEC's hottest team heading into Tuesday's showdown in Knoxville with No. 8 Florida

The Gators are experiencing a case of the injury bug and will have to play Tuesday's game without Michael Frazier II and Will Yeguete.   

Florida's injuries and the Volunteers' recent hot streak of five straight wins sets up a golden opportunity for an upset of the Gators.

Tennessee's junior guard Trae Golden will have yet another big performance and lead the Vols to an upset of the No. 8 Florida Gators.  

Head coach Cuonzo Martin's Tennessee squad has been playing impressive basketball over the last five games, but no player has been as impressive as Golden.  

According to ESPN.com's game preview, "Trae Golden came up big against the Aggies, scoring a career-high 32 points in 56 minutes. The junior guard is averaging 25.3 points while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor—and getting to the free-throw line 32 times—over the past three games."

Golden is turning into a highly effective scorer who is also attacking opposing defenses head-on by drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line.  

He will need to keep up the offensive intensity in order to lead the Vols past the Gators.  

Over the last five games, Golden is averaging 20.8 points per game and 9.2 attempts per game from the free-throw line. He is taking advantage of the free shots, as he is shooting 89.1 percent from the line.

Golden has also been more effective as a distributor over the five-game win streak, as he has put up eight assists in two of those five games, which is nearly double his season average of 4.1 assists per game.  

Tennessee needs Golden to score and get the Gators into foul trouble by continuing to attack the basket.  

This game against Florida is the Vols' biggest test of the season so far, and they may find some help in the hometown crowd.

According to ESPN.com's game preview, "Donovan would certainly like to see the Gators change their luck in Knoxville. Florida has dropped six of its last seven visits to Thompson-Boling Arena, including a 67-56 defeat Jan. 7, 2012.  The Gators were swept in the season series a month later, falling 75-70 at home."

Thompson-Boling Arena has been a very difficult place for the Gators to win over the last few years, and this could provide further confidence for Golden to have a big game.

Florida knows that Knoxville is a hostile environment, and if Golden can get the Vols off to a quick start, the fans will help to swing the momentum toward the Vols all night.  

Golden is the key to Tennessee upsetting Florida Tuesday night.  

Golden's ability to score by getting to the free-throw line and drawing fouls on the Gators will lead the Volunteers to victory over the No. 8 Gators.