Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
|(3) FLORIDA GATORS||ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE||
||Head Coach: Billy Donovan
||Head Coach: Anthony Grant
||Record: 20-2 (9-0 SEC)
||Record: 9-13 (3-6 SEC)
||Roster | Schedule
||Roster | Schedule
Odds: Florida -15 | O/U: 123.5
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Alabama actually leads Florida 73-63 in the all-time series, but the Gators hold a 39-19 advantage over the Tide in games played in the O’Dome and have won eight-straight in the series. Under Donovan, UF is 20-5 against UA (9-0 at home).
» Donovan is 13-2 against his former assistants, 7-0 going head-to-head with Grant.
» Florida and Alabama are squaring off for the second time this season after the Gators earned a 68-62 victory over the Crimson Tide on the road in Tuscaloosa, AL two weeks ago on Jan. 23.
» Florida is currently riding a school-record 28-game home winning streak (third longest in the nation). UF set a program record Tuesday by recording its 14th consecutive home win against league opponents.
» The Gators have opened league play with a 9-0 record for just the second time under Donovan. The school record for best SEC start is 11-0, set in 2007.
» Florida is on a 14-game winning streak and has won 19 of its last 20 games.
» The Gators are 72-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF has started 20-2 through 22 games for the third time in school history. The first two times the Gators achieved that mark, they won the national title (2005-06, 2006-07).
» Florida is 8-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 5-2 in true road games this season.
STRUGGLING THROUGH PAIN
Senior forward Casey Prather has been hobbled since injuring his ankle three weeks ago but has only begun struggling over the last two games. Prather, who registered double-digit point totals in the first 18 games he played this season, has scored seven and five points, respectively, in the last two. He has also suddenly lost his stroke from the free throw line, hitting just 4-of-11 attempts over the last three games, and has only totaled three rebounds combined since Saturday despite only grabbing fewer than four once in the 18 prior contests.
“There’s things that he doesn’t feel confident doing and there’s things that he’s not doing athletically to the level that he’s used to doing them,” explained Donovan on Friday. “It does bring into question or doubt, when driving the ball, ‘Am I going to have enough lift? Am I going to be able to run and take off?’ I think for him those things create a level of doubt and question. … Casey’s game is predicated on athleticism, speed and quickness, so when you have a lower extremity injury like he has right now…he does get affected.”
Donovan said Prather was “in and out of practice” Friday due to his ankle, which still has “some swelling in it.” Nevertheless, he is cleared to play Saturday though whether he starts will likely be determined on how the ankle feels in the morning.
“I feel alright. just trying to do everything I can to get my ankle better, get back to 100 percent,” noted Prather. “I’m just trying to be a positive influence for my teammates [through the pain]. … I’m still working on my [athleticism and explosion] through treatment, icing it, getting ready and stuff like that so I can get back 100 percent.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on freshmen point guard Kasey Hill and F Chris Walker playing together due to their chemistry: “I don’t think it’s something that’s that hard [for Scottie Wilbekin] to pick up. I’m not going to look at it as, ‘Well, geez, Chris is out there, we got to make sure Kasey is with him.’ I think they can play without each other, and I think they can play with each other.”
» Donovan on his team’s struggles in half-court offense recently: “I think that the ball didn’t move like it needed to move. Even though it didn’t move like I wanted it to move, I actually thought we got pretty good shots against their match-up zone. we found the balls to the right guys; we didn’t make shots. … I think your offense always looks a lot better when the ball goes in the basket. I didn’t think that we had a real good balance of inside-out. I think half of our shots in the first half were threes; not that I mind that because they were playing zone but there was nothing at the basket.”