Gameday: Florida Gators at Florida State; Donovan says team is healthiest its been

By Adam Silverstein
December 30, 2014

Location: Donald L. Tucker Center – Tallahassee, Florida [Capacity: 12,100]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Dave LaMont, Kara Lawson)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: Watch ESPN app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Record: 7-4 Record: 7-5
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast

Odds: Florida -5.5


HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» Florida is 43-22 all-time against Florida State in basketball, doubling up its in-state rivals 12-6 since Donovan took over the program. The Gators are also 18-10 against the Seminoles in Tallahassee (5-3 under Donovan). UF is on a five-game winning streak in the series with consecutive victories in Tallahassee.
» The Gators have snapped out of a scoring slump over their last four games, posting an average of 75.5 points per contest with three games of 75+ points after not eclipsing 68 prior to Dec. 8. UF has also won its last four games by an average of 30.3 points.
» Florida dropped consecutive non-conference games (vs. North Carolina, at Kansas) for the first time since 2009.
» The Gators have put forward seven different starting lineups in 11 regular-season games. Overall, nine players have started at least one game for Florida this season.
» UF is looking for its 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins is the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14+ consecutive seasons.
» Florida learned to win close games last season, going 14-2 in contests decided by single digits; the Gators are 2-3 in such affairs this season.
» Earlier this season, Miami snapped Florida’s program-record 33-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 11, 2012, and was the second-longest in the nation. The Canes also broke the Gators’ school-record 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, which dated back to Dec. 22, 2010.
» Florida is still on program-record 18-game winning streaks against SEC opponents overall (since Jan. 8, 2014) and at home (since Jan. 9, 2014). UF has also won a school-record nine-in-a-row over SEC opponents on the road (since Jan. 11, 2014).

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

» Probable (1): Redshirt junior guard Eli Carter (foot)
» Out (2): sophomore center John Egbunu (transfer – season), freshman guard Brandone Francis (academics – season)

“Everybody should be cleared to play,” Donovan said Monday.

According to Florida, Carter is a full-go after dealing with lingering foot issues, while redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith is expected to play his first game without a cast on his non-shooting hand after he suffered a pair of hairline fractures in the season opener.

“We’re at, in terms of having all of our numbers, this is our first time coming off the break that’s been three consecutive practices that we’ve had all our guys there, which has been encouraging,” Donovan continued. “Obviously, Brandone Francis is back in practice now, so he’s started practice coming off the break which gives us another body, which has been good. We’ve got 12 players out there in practice now. I think practice has been much, much more competitive and gives us a better opportunity for us to improve and get better in practice because we have more bodies.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on his initial thoughts of Francis and his academic effort: “Any time you come in from a different country, you’re always dealing with a language barrier there. He’s gotten better with English, he’s gotten much better with his English. The one thing I would say about Brandone academically is he gives really good effort. He really tries. He’s where he’s supposed to be. He’ll meet with teachers, he’ll meet with tutors, he’ll spend extra time studying. He’s very conscientious and very responsible and very reliable. That’s the thing that I feel good about him is he takes the academic par to fit pretty seriously. … I was very pleased with the effort he put in the first semester.”

» Donovan on sophomore point guard Kasey Hill bouncing back from struggles: “He always responds well. He is an unbelievable kid. I love coaching him. The thing I love about him is he wants the truth and he really accepts and assumes responsibility. You’re our starting point guard right now, it’s a one-point game and you come out of the game and we go on an 11-1 run. He’s looking at that squarely in the mirror like, ‘I gotta be better.’ He understand that. Kasey’s always been a team guy; it’s never been about him. He’s always been a team guy, and I admire that about him. … He’s got to stand for something as a player. This is what we’re getting from him every single time. … He does a pretty good job of picking himself up and trying to get better from it.”

» Donovan on how practice has been coming out of the short holiday break: “The first day coming back is always hard because you’re off for five days and the first thing that goes is your wind; it takes a little time to get that back. We’ve had two pretty competitive, good days. They seem to be in good spirits.”

2 Comments

  1. Dave Massey says:

    I think we will finally start to see how good this team is. Hope they smash the s*@#holes in their own house!

  2. Buster says:

    I need this one just for my psyche.

    It’s like an appetizer before Oregon beats them by 3 TDs on Thursday.

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