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|No. 8 FLORIDA GATORS||MIAMI HURRICANES|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Jim Larranaga|
|Record: 1-0||Record: 1-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Atlantic Coast|
Odds: Florida -8.5 | O/U 130
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MUST-READ PRIMER: Can the Gators keep it going with a rebuilt starting five?
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida and Miami are playing for the first time since 2009 and participating in a home-and-home series for the first time since 2004-05. The Gators are 45-22 all-time against the Hurricanes, 3-1 under Donovan.
» Monday’s game between UF and UM will be a part of ESPN‘s 24-hour college basketball marathon to kick off the 2014-15 season.
» UF has now won 24-straight season openers including all 19 under Donovan. Florida holds a 16-0 record under Donovan in openers played in the O’Dome after Friday’s win.
» The Gators are looking for their 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins marks the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest in the nation. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14 or more consecutive seasons.
» UF learned to win close games last season, going 14-2 in games decided by single digits after posting an 0-6 march in such contests two years ago.
» Florida is on a 33-game home winning streak dating back to Nov. 11, 2012. It is the longest in program history and second-longest active streak in the nation (Duke, Stephen F. Austin – 34). Florida also has the second-longest active road winning streak in the nation at nine games, behind only SFA and Wichita State (12 each).
» The Gators are also on program-record winning streaks of 18 games against SEC opponents (dating back to Jan. 8, 2014), 18 home games against SEC opponents (dating back to Jan. 9, 2013) and nine road games against SEC opponents (dating back to Jan. 11, 2014).
» Florida also has a 25-game home winning streak against non-conference foes dating back to Dec. 22, 2010.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES
» Questionable (1): Redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith (hand)
» Out (1): Sophomore forward/center Chris Walker (suspension – last game)
» Extended (3): Redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy (transfer – fall semester), sophomore center John Egbunu (transfer – season), freshman guard Brandone Francis (academics – season)
Due to Finney-Smith’s injury and inability to practice this week, he is not expected to be in the starting lineup. The Gators could open with redshirt senior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz at power forward with Finney-Smith coming off the bench as long as he feels like he can play in the game.
“I thought Jake did a good job for us,” Donovan said after Friday’s win. “I told him, ‘We need you. You need to step up, perform and play and help our team.’ He did that. He did that today much better than he did a week ago.”
Finney-Smith returned to Friday’s game after injuring himself early in the first half and still finished as Florida’s leading scorer with 15 points to go along with five rebounds.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on freshman F Devin Robinson in the season-opener: “It was good to actually see him get in the game and not just touch it and shoot it. … I like coaching him. He takes it very well. He’s getting better. He’s improving. I think you can see talent-wise there are some things he did. There was that one play where he just… he doesn’t have like time and score awareness. We were on like a 4-0 run, it was one pass to him, he comes off a screen and just lets it go. We can get that at any point. He’s got to get a better awareness there. But I thought he made a big step from a week ago, which I thought was a positive for our team. I was really happy with the growth he made.”
» Donovan on his relationship with Larranaga: “You know, obviously he’s a [Providence] Friar, you know, and was a legendary player there, had a tremendous career. And then our paths kind of meeting up in the NCAA Tournament back in 2006 and the job that he did at Mason, and then coming here to the state, we’ve always had a very good relationship and we’ve always been connected by New York and by Providence in a lot of ways.”
» Donovan on the play of sophomore point guard Kasey Hill on Friday: “I was really proud of Kasey Hill. I thought he was phenomenal. The fact that he had to guard Thorton every minute he was out there except for a couple of possessions, he did a terrific job on him. And I thought Jon Horford, after the first couple of pick and rolls, those two guys in pick and roll coverage did a really good job on him.” Donovan added Sunday: “I thought Kasey early in possessions was really, really good in terms of being locked in and getting over screens. Now, he didn’t guard Thornton by himself, there was a team effort and there were guys there in good position to help, but it started with Kasey, and it was good to see him do that. I would just say this, just because he played good defense on Friday doesn’t mean he’ll play good defense on Monday. … This will be a challenge, not only for Kasey, but our entire backcourt and our team.”