After a strong 8-1 start to the season despite missing star forward Khris Middleton for seven games, the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies face their toughest non-conference test Saturday when they play the No. 13 Florida Gators in Sunrise, Florida.
Middleton came back from a knee injury in a Dec. 10 game against Louisiana-Monroe, where he filled up the stat sheet with 24 points on 8-14 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Highly touted freshman Bradley Beal, a 6'3 207 wing player with exceptional athleticism and a freakishly long wingspan, will present an interesting challenge for Middleton, and a strong performance could boost his stock in the eyes of NBA scouts.
Beal is one of four Gators averaging in double figures, as coach Billy Donovan has assembled his most talented team since the Joakim Noah and Al Horford led squad that won consecutive national championships.
Florida may have as many as five future NBA players -- Beal, 6'9 post Patric Young, 6'10 forward Erik Murphy, 6'3 junior combo guard Kenny Boynton and 6'2 point guard Mike Rosario.
The Gators only two losses this season have come against two top 5 teams -- Ohio State and Syracuse.
Texas A&M, meanwhile, has not played a very difficult non-conference schedule, and the game Saturday will be only their second against nationally ranked competition all season.
The 1:30 PM game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net.