Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA [Capacity: 26,000]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
TV: ABC (Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
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|(1) FLORIDA GATORS||TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin|
|Record: 30-2||Record: 21-11|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -7 | O/U: 125
HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS
» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title earned the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament, earning two byes and playing its first game Friday in quarterfinal action. The championship is the program’s second-straight title, third in the last four seasons, seventh overall and fifth outright.
» The Volunteers advanced to the semifinals after pulling off a 59-44 victory over South Carolina on Friday.
» UF is 39-45 all-time in the SEC Tournament with a 24-14 record under Donovan and three-straight SEC Tournament Championships from 2005-07.
» Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 18-18, but the Gators are 18-18 against the Vols since Donovan took over. UT is also 4-3 against UF in SEC Tournament action, but Donovan helped Florida win its last such game against Tennessee in 2011.
» The Gators swept the regular-season series agains the Volunteers, defeating their Saturday opponent 67-41 at home on Jan. 25 and 67-58 on the road on Feb. 11.
» UF enters Saturday’s regular-season finale on a program-record 24-game winning streak and at 18-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 29 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single regular season. Florida has won 29 of its last 30 games.
» The Gators are the first team in SEC history to go 18-0 in league play. UF is also the first team from a major conference, since Indiana in 1976, to go 18-0 in league play.
» Florida has gone two-straight seasons without losing at home, holding a 32-0 record since the start of the 2012-13 campaign (17-0 in conference games).
» The Gators have won nine-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» Florida is 81-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 11-2 in true road games this campaign with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. Florida lost those contests by a combined seven points. UF is also 3-0 in neutral-site games this campaign.
» 2013-14 was the first time that Florida has ended the regular season ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Gators have achieved a No. 1 ranking in four separate seasons and currently hold a 20-5 record playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida’s senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.
PROGRAM RECORDS SET, EXTENDED THIS SEASON
» Record to start a season (overall): 30-2
» Regular-season record (SEC): 18-0
» Winning streak (overall): 24 games
» Regular-season wins: 30
» SEC regular-season wins (single season): 18
» SEC road wins (consecutive): 9
» Home wins (overall, consecutive): 32
» Home wins (SEC, consecutive): 18
FEATURE STORIES ON FLORIDA’S SENIOR CLASS
Strength in years: Burden-carrying Patric Young becomes a much-needed rock
Finding his way: Rebuilt Scottie Wilbekin emerges as senior leader
Fourth year’s a charm: Casey Prather grows from afterthought to pace-setter
Rare breed: Will Yeguete personifies team’s heart and soul
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on Florida going on quick runs and creating separation seemingly on a dime: “I think it starts with getting stops, because if we score and they score, it won’t be a run. But especially when we can make threes, it gets us a little bit more separation. But the key is getting stops – us scoring and limiting them to one rebound and getting a stop and trying to push the tempo on the offensive end.”
» Donovan on the Gators already amassing 30 wins on the season: “It’s hard to get 30 wins. Actually, the last couple of years, I think we were going to be right around 30. I think we had maybe 29 the last couple years. It’s hard to win 30 games. So I think with what these guys have done, at least up to this point in time in the regular season, was truly special. But now we’re in a different part of our season, being postseason play. But I think for any team to win 30 games, it’s very difficult.”
» Donovan on whether he was surprised that Florida struggled in the first half: “There were a lot of things leading up to this game that set itself up for us not to play well. We had talked about a lot of those things. One was having a week off – playing a noon game on Saturday and not playing until Friday here at 1:00 p.m. There was a lot of time. I think the fact of the way the season ended, the way it kind of came to full circle for our four seniors, going to the SEC Tournament, feeling maybe good about ourselves. We tried to address those things in practice.
“What we did was, I wanted them to get back emotionally and physically. So we got back to practice on Tuesday. First thing I did was I put jerseys in their lockers in our arena and we scrimmaged. We were awful. Awful. And we watched film, and we talked about it. And there’s an emotional battle that goes on when you go through what these guys have gone through. Now you take the next step.”
» Martin on why the Gators are so good: “Their experience as a team. They have one of the best, if not the best, point guards in college basketball for what he brings to the table. The thing that they have, they have guys that were role players or didn’t play as freshmen and young guys. All of a sudden they’re playing major minutes. So, nowadays, most guys are just transferring. So these guys took their lumps as young guys, found their way as basketball players, stayed together. Then you start to see the success of a team that had to grind to the top, and again, not many guys are willing to do that. They were talented guys coming out of high school. They weren’t role players on high school teams. They were some of the best of the best, but they accepted that role. Now you’re starting to see the results behind it. Also great coaching, the system, the program is won before the guys that came before and passed it down. All those things matter.”
2014 SEC TOURNAMENT BRACKET
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Wilbekin and senior center Patric Young are steadily inching their way up many of Florida’s all-time lists. Young has played in 142 career games and will only add to his totals as the campaign progresses. Earlier this season, he became just the 50th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Most Wins by a Senior Class
1. Walter Hodge (2009) – 117
2. Casey Prather / Scottie Wilbekin / Will Yeguete / Patric Young – 114
1. Walter Hodge – 151
2. Kenny Boynton – 145
3. Erving Walker – 144
4. Patric Young – 143
5. Chandler Parsons / Alex Tyus – 142
7. Dan Werner / Chris Richard – 141
9. Scottie Wilbekin – 136
9 Erik Murphy / Lee Humphrey – 136
30. Chip Williams – 1,246
31. Kenyan Weeks – 1,234
32. Patric Young – 1,225
32. Corey Brewer / Malcolm Cesare – 1,225
5. Dwayne Davis – 160
6. Eugene McDowell – 150
7. Patric Young – 148
Field Goal Percentage (minimum 500 attempts)
5. Al Horford – .588
6. Ronnie Williams – .585
7. Udonis Haslem – .584
8. Patric Young – .582
Dunks (unofficial statistic)
3. David Lee – 155
4. Alex Tyus – 146
5. Patric Young – 134
4. Malcom Cesare – 361
5. Patric Young – 343
7. Andrew Moten – 411
8. Brett Nelson – 406
9. Scottie Wilbekin – 399
Wins at an SEC school
1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 875
2. Dale Brown (LSU) – 448
3. Billy Donovan (Florida) – 445