12/5: Donovan on Murphy, Rosario, Arizona

With No. 12 Florida Gators basketball set to host the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Monday to discuss what preparations have been made for his team’s next game.


After missing three games due to a bruise in his knee, junior forward Erik Murphy will return to the court on Wednesday against Arizona. “He’s going to play. Right now he’s been cleared. He worked out yesterday on his own; he did some running. He’ll probably go through about half the contact right now,” Donovan said. “Provided the next two days go as planned with him physically, he should be able to play. He feels good right now. We’ll have him out there today, and I would anticipate right now the expectation level is that he’s going to play in the game.”

Though he may be able to play, it is unknown whether or not Murphy will get the start. Donovan could decide to use him sparingly if he’s not 100 percent. Either way, he was cautious to say that things would have gone differently on Friday if Murphy had been available to play at Syracuse.

“There was a lot of talk that he would have helped us against Syracuse in the zone because he’s a guy who can step out and shoot. I don’t know if he would have or would not have. Who knows? He didn’t play in the game. He could have been in the game and played great or been in the game and played not well. We went into the game with what we had,” he said.

“There’s no question that Erik is a big part of our team. He’s a different kind of player because he does shoot the basketball and he does give us some length and he allows us to play a little bit of a bigger lineup…but when a guy is injured you kind of got to go with what you’ve got. That’s what we had at that point in time. He just wasn’t available to play. There’s no question that, when you have a player like Erik available, it does add a different dimension to our team. That’s not to sit there and say we would have beat Syracuse with him. He would have had to gone out there and performed and played well and given us something a little bit differently than what we had in the game.”


Donovan benched redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario on Friday after the Gators’ sixth man saw just six minutes of court time. He said following the game that the decision was based solely on Rosario’s recent mindset and his displeasure with how he was approaching playing. Donovan expanded on those thoughts in a big way on Monday:

“He’s fine. One of the things with him right now is mentally I just feel like he’s trying to figure out – and this is all different for him. He was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. He has pretty much always been a starter. And it’s not even necessarily about starting or not starting. That’s not the problem. The bigger challenge for him is coming off the bench and that being somewhat new to him. He’s fine knowing whatever is best for our team; he understands. I think it has been somewhat of a mental drain on him a little bit trying to figure out how he can carve his niche in something he’s never done before. It’s my responsibility to try and help him through some of that.

“Clearly I don’t think the last couple of days he’s been himself because he’s probably been a little frustrated not with his role but with himself that he can’t provide more than he can. He feels like he can and knows he can, and I believe like he can too. Just mentally he did not seem like he was where he needed to be in the first half when we threw him in there. […]

“He and I had a chance to talk. I would imagine that he’s in a better place mentally right now than probably he was back then. When you sit out for a while year, you want to come in and find a way to help – whatever way you can do. I think he’s trying to figure out how he can go about helping. His way of helping teams in a lot of ways has just been through his scoring all the time. There’s more things that he can do to help our team, that he needs to do to help our team. He needs to get more committed on defense. He needs to get more committed to doing the little things. He’s already a proven scorer. We’re not lacking for scoring. We’re not lacking for that. So even if he’s not on the floor, there’s going to be enough guys that can make some shots and there’s different things that we can do.

“He does add a different element to our team. When he does get in the game, his difficult is when he’s out there, he’s got to get going right away. It’s not like we have 5-7 minutes in the game to let him warm up and get loose and go at his pace. He needs to go. He needs to be aggressive. He needs to be on edge. He needs to be focused, and he needs to defend at the level he needs to. For him, he’s always been a guy that’s been out there and has been able to play through different things. That’s not the case right now. He’s not able to do that. He’s got to be able to come in there and make an impact.

“For him, a lot of people have defined the role as instant offense off the bench. I’m not worried about his scoring. He’s proven that he can score. We need other things out of him. One game this year he grabbed seven rebounds. He’s done some really good things, and he’s shown the ability to make shots, but he’s also got to make a commitment defensively where when he’s on the floor we’re not playing with a weak link out there defensively. For him, trying to figure that out has been something that he’s struggling with right now that I need to help him with.”


As a freshman on a team with a good amount of experience in the backcourt, guard Bradley Beal has looked out of sorts at times, especially when it comes to shooting consistently and taking care of the ball. Donovan is not worried one bit about Beal’s early struggles because he knows that his talent will make up for the time it is taking him to adjust sooner than later.

“He’s a freshman. It’s no different than what Kenny Boynton went through as a freshman, or Chandler Parsons or Lee Humphrey. Lee Humphrey proved to be one of the best three-point shooters to ever play here,” he said.

“When the speed of the game is totally different than it was in high school, there’s always a learning curve that you’ve got to go through. Part of the reason that he’s been able to stay on the floor as long as he has is that he is defending and he is rebounding. He rebounds the ball – that was one of my concerns when we lost Chandler. With our guards, what kind of rebounding will we get from the small forward spot? He’s really done a great job there. I’m not worried about his shooting because he is a great shooter. He needs for me to give him confidence continually to take good shots, and he does take good shots. Those things will start falling as the season unfolds, we play more games, and he gets more comfortable to the speed and athleticism and length of the college game coming from high school.”


» Donovan on dropping the game to Syracuse: “There’s a commitment that goes into doing the things that you got to do in a game to win. We knew going into the game our ability to rebound the ball was going to be critical. Our ability to guard them off the dribble, which I think we did a fairly decent job in, and then obviously the turnovers. We had some plays there where some of the turnovers were not as costly because they were dead ball turnovers and we were able to get back in transition and set our defense. There were a couple late there that certainly hurt us. […] It will help us going forward. Just a commitment and understanding not only at the game but in practice of what you got to do to put yourself in a position to win a game like that.”

» Donovan on Florida playing good man-to-man defense: “They’re extremely explosive, long and athletic in transition. We did a fairly decent job – when we didn’t turn the ball over – getting pretty good shots. We shot a decent percentage on the road in a tough place to shoot. That enabled us to keep them out of transition. They were averaging 30 points a game in transition, and I think they had 15-16 in our game, which playing against them is hard to do. […] Defensively we were pretty locked in with what we needed to do to defend them.”

» Donovan on playing tough road opponents: “Our guys understand that playing the second game of the year at Ohio State, going to Syracuse, I’m not sure how many teams would be favored going into both of those teams’ gyms. We got a chance to play against two of the better teams in the country on the road. You got to put yourself in a position where you don’t beat yourself so to speak. In both of those games – in particularly Ohio State – they did a great job but we made some decisions offensively that really hurt us. We went for long stretches without scoring and that shouldn’t be the case. Offensively we did a better job being patient [against Syracuse] and we rebounded the ball fairly well. Syracuse will be as big as long and as athletic a team as we’ll face this year.”

» Donovan on Arizona being a similar team to UF: “There’s a lot of similarities in a lot of aspects of the way we’re playing because there’s time that we’re small like they’re small. […] They have the ability to totally alter the look of their team. They can go pretty big or they can go very small. They have shown the ability to play small and go on great runs in big spurts.”

» Sophomore F Will Yeguete on learning to rebound: “I had to work on it a little bit, position-wise, my feet, going for the ball. I got better and that’s one thing I can bring every game and I can control.”

» Yeguete on Rosario: “We know what Mike’s capable of. We know how good Mike can be and how much he can help us. He’s showed to all of the fans that he can be really good. He just had one bad game and was a little bit down on himself.”

» Senior point guard Erving Walker on the Gators turning the ball over a lot versus good opponents: “Now we’ve played two really good teams. We got our feet wet with them. It’s a totally different level of competition playing against an Ohio State or Syracuse on the road than Stetson – no disrespect o teams like that. It’s just a different atmosphere and things that we can adjust to well.”

» Walker on getting Murphy back: “It’s a huge boost – another guy that can knock down shots, big man presence, and he can help with rebounds and stuff like that.”

» Walker on Rosario: “Mike is a tough kid. He’s confident and tough. It was just a few things going on with him. I’m sure he’ll be fine and ready to play. He’s working hard at it. It’s not a switch that’s going to happen overnight for him. Mike’s a tough kid and he’s smart. He’s going to figure it out.”

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Florida evens out at No. 12 after tough road loss

The fourth editions of the regular season USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press Top 25 Polls were released on Monday, and the Kentucky Wildcats remained the No. 1 team in the country after defeating North Carolina in dramatic fashion over the weekend. The Florida Gators dropped a few spots after falling to the then-No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange on the road 72-68 despite three consecutive blowout wins. Florida is one of four Southeastern Conference teams listed in the respective rankings.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

This Week 1-5: Kentucky (19), Ohio State (11), Syracuse (1), Louisville, Duke
6-10: North Carolina, Baylor, Xavier, Connecticut, Missouri
11-15: Marquette, Florida, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Alabama
16-20: Wisconsin, Creighton, Mississippi State, Michigan, Memphis
21-25: Georgetown, Illinois/Gonzaga, Harvard, Texas A&M

Last Week 1-5: Kentucky (22), Ohio State (8), Syracuse (1), Duke, North Carolina
6-10: Louisville, Wisconsin, Baylor, Florida, Connecticut
11-15: Xavier, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan
16-20: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, UNLV
21-25: Memphis, Creighton, California, Mississippi State, Saint Louis

This Week 1-5: Kentucky (47), Ohio State (18), Syracuse, North Carolina, Louisville
6-10: Baylor, Duke, Xavier, Connecticut, Missouri
11-15: Marquette, Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh
16-20: Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgetown, Creighton, Michigan
21-25: Memphis, Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Illinois, Harvard

Last Week 1-5: Kentucky (46), Ohio State (17), Duke (2), Syracuse, North Carolina
6-10: Louisville, Baylor, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Florida
11-15: Xavier, Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas
16-20: Marquette, Pittsburgh, UNLV, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt
21-25: Mississippi State, Memphis, Saint Louis, California, Texas A&M

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.


Florida Gators announce 2012 basketball signees

The Florida Gators officially announced Monday that three high school basketball players – four-star guards Michael Frazier (Tampa, FL) and Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, NC) as well as three-star guard Dillon Graham (Orlando, FL) – have signed and submitted their National Letters of Intent to play for Florida next season.

“I’m excited about the guys that we’ve signed,” head coach Billy Donovan said before Monday’s team practice. “With losing Erving [Walker] being a senior, Braxton Ogbueze is a kid that’s as good as any point guard out there. We felt like we got a really good player with him. Frazier is a phenomenal three-point shooter and a guy that we’ve kept an eye on for a long, long time. Dillon Graham is another really talented perimeter player who has got the brains to shoot it, put it on the floor.

“We feel like we’ve addressed some needs. Obviously there’s a lot of kids that we’re still recruiting that haven’t signed yet that we’re still involved with, but I’m happy with the guys that have signed. I feel like they’re all going to be very good players for us.”

Though the Gators are in desperate need of young big men, Florida will likely have to replace at least two guards. Walker will have used up his collegiate eligibility and freshman G Bradley Beal could head to the NBA as he is already projected to be a lottery pick. Sophomore center Patric Young is another candidate to leave early, but he stated prior to his freshman season that he intended to stay in college for a few years.

The Gators were able to announce these additions to the program because the NCAA’s early signing period for basketball took place Nov. 9-16. The regular signing period is April 11-May 16, giving Florida approximately four months to recruit a frontcourt player if the team has enough space on its roster.

Donovan hopes to find one to add to the class and appeared to agree with the notion that frontcourt players should look at the Gators as a team with a great history of preparing forwards and centers for professional careers.

“Clearly we’ve had a lot of success with frontcourt players and certainly there’s a lot of them in the NBA that are doing very well. For a lot of guys, they can go to a lot of places. There are a lot of great programs out there, a lot of great coaches out there,” he said.

“It’s a lot more than just there’s NBA guys there at Florida. There is a lot that goes into a decision for a family. I try to trust and respect the fact that the decision has been made for them; whether they come here or go somewhere else is a part of a process. Unfortunately with this you’re told ‘no’ a lot more than you’re told ‘yes.’”

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OGGOA Week In Review: Nov. 27 – Dec. 4

Considering so much has gone on over the past week in regards to the Florida Gators, the OGGOA Week In Review returns for its second edition. (Yes, it covers an eight-day period, but let’s just all agree to ignore that.) Be sure to check out all of the posts that have been written this week just in case you happened to miss a thing or two.

» An in-depth look at former Florida head coach Urban Meyer going to the Ohio State Buckeyes was published in the latest edition of The Silver Lining. The 3,500-word piece looks at Meyer’s decision from every possible angle (some tidbits you will not find elsewhere are included) and provides you with all the information you need in order to draw your own conclusion.

» OGGOA had the unique opportunity to review “The Play That Changed College Football,” the latest edition of the ESPN documentary series SEC Storied.

» Following Florida basketball’s loss to the No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange, former Gators forward Adam Allen posted the latest edition of Allen’s Alley, explaining in what areas Florida has room for improvement.

While Al Michaels and Bob Costas are discussing the Denver Broncos improving to 6-1 this season with quarterback Tim Tebow starting, former Gators wide receiver now NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth does the Gator Chomp. (Thanks to OGGOA follower Chaz.)

» Meyer agreed to coach the Buckeyes beginning in 2012. His signing was officially announced prior to OSU introducing him at an on-campus press conference. In between, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley wished Meyer the best of luck with his new employer.

» Two Gators – redshirt freshmen safety Joshua Shaw and defensive end Lynden Traildecided to transfer on Tuesday. Shaw and Trail each chose to transfer for different reasons, and OGGOA also spoke with Trail for an exclusive interview about his decision and promise to remain a Florida fan.

» Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was announced as the cover athlete for the premiere edition of NFL Magazine, set to go on sale Dec. 13 for $4.99.

» OGGOA confirmed that strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti would join Meyer and has already left the program for the Buckeyes.

» Florida announced that it accepted an invitation to the 2012 Gator Bowl.

» While on the media teleconference to officially accept the bowl bid, Gators head coach Will Muschamp confirmed Marotti’s departure, said sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley will undergo surgery on his ACL Wednesday and discussed a number of other topics relating to the bowl game.

» Florida four-star running back recruit Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, GA) decommitted from the Gators after a significant miscommunication with the coaching staff and completely eliminated UF from his list.

» One of the greatest television commercials to feature a college coach was published on OGGOA for your enjoyment. Florida head coach Billy Donovan does a press conference praising the variety of offerings from Florida Gulf Seafood.

» Donovan earned his 400th career win as UF routed the Stetson Hatters 96-70 Monday evening. Freshman guard Bradley Beal led the way with career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. He also discussed what winning his 400th college basketball game meant on a number of levels.

» It was determined that junior forward Erik Murphy did not tear his meniscus but rather had a deep bone bruise and may be able to return for the Arizona game on Wednesday.

» Despite it being a close game throughout, the Gators fell to the Orange 72-68 on the road in Syracuse, NY. Junior G Kenny Boynton started slow but finished with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

» Following Florida’s loss to Syracuse, Donovan pointed to turnovers, poor rebounding and players missing in action as the reasons why UF struggled. Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario was benched during the contest because Donovan was not pleased with where his head was at heading into and during the game.

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Allen’s Alley: Gators have room for improvement

A four-year member of the Florida Gators basketball program under head coach Billy Donovan, former forward Adam Allen – a four-star recruit coming out of Milton High School – was forced to retire due to multiple knee surgeries. No longer with the team, he has joined OGGOA as a basketball columnist and will provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2011-12 season.

Friday night Florida was hoping to snag a big road win at the undefeated No. 3 Syracuse Orange without junior starting forward Erik Murphy but fell short in two primary areas – turnovers and rebounding.

Turnovers have doomed the Gators in recent memory and proved to once again be a factor in their latest big game. The fact is: It’s nearly impossible to go on the road against a top 10 team and expect to win when you cough the ball up 20 or more times.

Murphy’s absence and sophomore center Patric Young only being able to play 25 minutes (mostly in the second half) because of foul trouble had a large impact on the game in the rebounding and low post scoring departments.

Sophomore F Will Yeguete played well but, despite his great effort and energy, could only do so much standing 6’6” against the length and size of the Orange’s front line.

Syracuse’s zone caused problems for Florida all night. The whole idea of SU’s patented 2-3 is to get teams out of their comfort zone and bait them into settling for shots that may appear to be the best available. Even when UF did hit tough treys, it simply gave the team false hope because the Orange know teams won’t be able to make enough challenged threes over the course of 40 minutes to beat them.

Additionally, with Murphy being out, the Gators didn’t have a true threat in the high post and a big man who can space the floor and knock down shots. When UF stopped getting the ball to the high post and baseline on offense, the team got stagnant.

Florida settled for setting ball screens on the guard at the top of the zone and kicking to the wings, which did not force Syracuse’s back end to work at all. Even as out of rhythm as the Gators may have seemed on offense, UF would have been in a great position to win the game if the players simply took better care of the ball.

Read the rest of this edition of Allen’s Alley…after the break!
Continue Reading » Allen’s Alley: Gators have room for improvement

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12/2: Florida at Syracuse post-game notes

The No. 9/10 Florida Gators fell on the road to the No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange 72-68 Friday evening at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY as part of the 2011 Big East-SEC Challenge. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and the players provided their thoughts on the team’s second loss to a top-five ranked opponent this year.


Florida worked hard on the defensive end of the floor Friday night, but the Gators’ 20 turnovers gave the Orange a number of additional opportunities to score that wound up being one of the main differences in the game. Syracuse took seven more shots and 10 more free throw attempts on the evening than Florida, which made up for the fact that SU shot worse both from the field and beyond the arc.

After the game, UF’s players took the blame for these miscues, noting that they resulted from carelessness rather than their opponent’s effort.

“That’s a good defense but those turnovers are our turnovers. They’re on us,” junior guard Kenny Boynton admitted.

The Orange were also the first team to outrebound the Gators this season, grabbing seven more boards and five additional rebounds off the offensive glass. Not only did Syracuse have a size advantage, they worked harder than Florida to this end and took a few directly out of their opponent’s hands.

“They did a good job of getting rebounds and getting out on their break,” senior point guard Erving Walker said. “That’s not an easy zone to play against, but we still had some good looks at the basket and actually shot a good percentage in the second half. We just turned the ball over up too much and gave up too many easy baskets.”


Despite playing six minutes in the first half, redshirt junior G Mike Rosario did not return to the court in the latter portion of the game and was benched by Donovan for the entire second half. Rosario took two three-pointers in his six minutes on the court (airballing one), hit two free throws, committed a foul and turned the ball over once.

“The last couple days, I think emotionally, he just hasn’t been there,” Donovan said after the game about Rosario’s limited playing time. “I tried to use him a little bit and he just did not seem himself.

“It was more my decision not to play him. I actually felt like we needed defense because I knew we were going to have a hard time scoring with Patric [Young] off the floor.”

The team’s sophomore starting center, Young picked up two early fouls and only played 25 minutes of the game with the majority of that time coming in the second half. His absence limited the Gators offensively in the early portion of the game and hurt Florida’s ability to get penetration and force Syracuse’s zone to defend honestly.

Also absent from the game was junior forward Erik Murphy (knee), whose 6’10” frame and zone-stretching jump shot would have been a welcome addition. At any given point in the contest, UF was playing without two of its six best players (Murphy and Young in the first half, Murphy and Rosario in the second half).

Post-game quotes courtesy of UF contributing writer Chris Harry.

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No. 3 Orange squeeze past No. 9 Gators 72-68

Without one starter the whole game and their sixth man the entire second half, No. 9 Florida Gators (5-2) basketball fell 72-68 Friday night on the road to the No. 3 Syracuse Orange (8-0) in the fifth game of the 2011 Big East/SEC Challenge at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.

A pair of junior guards led their respective teams in scoring on Friday. Florida’s Kenny Boynton, who started slow but caught fire in the second half, finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-for-10 from downtown), while Brandon Triche led Syracuse with 20 points and three assists.

The Gators and Orange were tied at 14 midway through the first half thanks to senior point guard Erving Walker connecting on his first two three-pointers and center Fab Melo hitting his first three shots (two dunks).

Florida sophomore C Patric Young was forced to sit the majority of the first half after picking up a pair of early fouls and watched as reserves took his spot in the frontcourt.

Neither team had much of an advantage early on until Syracuse used a 6-0 run to jump ahead 31-25 with the half winding down. UF hit a jumper to reduce their deficit to four but missed a pair of treys at the end of the half.

Despite hitting some baskets early, Florida shot just 37 percent from the field in the first half and a paltry 21.4 percent from downtown. UF and SU each turned the ball over 10 times with Syracuse taking an early 18-11 (7-4 offensive) advantage on the boards. The Orange were also an inefficient 10 percent from three but connected on 43.3 percent of their attempts from the floor.

After another slow start to the second half, Syracuse took a game-high nine-point lead thanks to another 6-0 run. Florida counted with an 11-2 run of their own capped by a three from Boynton to tie the contest at 41.

Boynton would hit three-straight shots from downtown to give the Gators a 49-46 advantage, but the Orange countered by outscoring their opponent 16-4 and retaking their nine-point lead down a stretch in which Florida turned the ball over five times.

Syracuse held on to their lead with the clock winding down, though Walker hit a trey at the buzzer to make UF’s final deficit just four points.

Walker finished second for the Gators with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting (5-for-9 from downtown) and notched a team-high five assists. Sophomore forward Will Yeguete added 10 points, seven boards and four dimes, while freshman G Bradley Beal grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds but scored just seven points. He hit just 2-of-9 shots from the field and was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Two other Orange players scored double-digits with G Scoop Jardine posting 16 points and seven assists and F Kris Joseph adding 14 points and five boards (four offensive).

Syracuse outrebounded Florida 34-27 (14-9) on the evening, marking the first time an opponent has grabbed more boards than the Gators this season. UF turned the ball over 20 times (10 in each half) and made just 9-of-26 threes. Florida had converted 10 or more treys in all six games played prior to Friday night.

The Orange was called for goaltending three times during the contest, and Gators redshirt junior G Mike Rosario did not play at all in the second half.

Both of Florida’s losses this season have been by single digits to No. 3 ranked opponents on the road, and the Gators hope to rebound from this defeat when they host Arizona on Wednesday. The game will air live at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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No. 9 Florida Gators at No. 3 Syracuse Orange

Event: Big East·SEC Challenge
Location: Carrier Dome – Syracuse, NY [Capacity: 34,616]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

SiriusXM: 190
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Jim Boeheim
Record: 5-1 Record: 7-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +6.5; O/U 148.5


Need to catch up on the Gators before the big game? No problem. OGGOA has been here all season long compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Friday night at 7 p.m.

Allen’s Alley: Previewing the 2011-12 Gators | The Countdown: 35-23, 15-1

Donovan’s Syracuse preview | Billy D hits 400 wins | Murphy back next week?


» Syracuse leads the all-time series against Florida 2-1. All three games have taken place at neutral sites while Donovan has been UF’s head coach. The Gators are 16-8 (7-2 since 2005-06) against current teams in the Big East under Donovan.
» Donovan is a former Big East player having spent his collegiate career at Providence.
» Boeheim is 13 victories shy of passing Adolph Rupp for fourth on the Division I career wins list. He is No. 2 on the active list, just 44 wins behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. Boeheim has the most 20-win seasons among active Division I coaches (33).
» Florida has never defeated an opponent ranked in the top three in a true road game and has not taken down one ranked No. 4 or better in such a contest since 1988.
» The Gators won three out of every four road games they played in 2010-11 and captured eight true road victories for the first time since 1993-94.
» Florida has made a three-pointer in 652 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» UF has connected on 10 or more treys in all six games this season, the team’s longest streak under Donovan.
» The Gators have outrebounded every opponent this season.
» Florida is No. 3 in scoring offense (89.8 points), No. 6 in scoring margin (25.4 points), No. 6 in rebounding margin (11.4 boards) and T-No. 1 in three-pointers (11.6 per game) nationally as of Nov. 27.
» UF has the best winning percentage against ranked opponents (.552) among SEC teams dating back to 1999-2000.
» The Gators lead the nation with 72 triples made through six games.
» The Orange have begun the season 7-0 for the fourth consecutive year.
» Syracuse is winning their games by an average of 26.1 points and is holding opponents to just 57 points per game.
» Three of the Orange’s subs are among the team’s top five scorers.
» Syracuse has outrebounded all but one opponent this season.
» Friday’s game is part of the recently expanded Big East/SEC Challenge, which features 12 teams from both conferences playing each other with all games taking place over three days and broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.


Syracuse and Florida last met in 2009 with the Orange defeating the Gators 85-73 in Tampa, FL. Kenny Boynton scored a game-high 20 points, and Chandler Parsons added 19 for Florida, but Syracuse’s Rick Jackson led the way with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Gators held a small lead midway through the second half, but the Orange outscored their opponent 28-14 over the last 10:06 of the game.


» Active: Sophomore guard/forward Casey Prather (groin)
» Questionable: Junior forward Erik Murphy (knee)


» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 113 consecutive games with 52-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (3,361) and treys (226) but also ranks second in points (1,412), assists (409) and steals (130) as well as seventh in assists (409). Walker is No. 19 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 8 in free throws made (350), No. 5 in threes made (226) and No. 4 in treys attempted (595).
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shoot better than he has throughout his career (50.0 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks fifth in the SEC among active players in points (1,112) and fourth in three-pointers (174).
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who is starting at the three for Florida fresh out of high school. Beal was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, one of the top five players in the country, and is arguably the most talented player to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over. He is averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line (second best on the team).
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joins the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young saw action in all 37 games as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action. He opened the season with consecutive double-doubles and is posting averages of 10.2 points, 7.7 boards and 1.7 blocks per game.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who is finally playing for Florida after transferring out of Rutgers and sitting out the 2010-11 season. Rosario scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons with his former team and averaged 16.7 points per game during his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ de facto sixth man and is seeing 20.2 minutes of court time each game, averaging 12 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 48.6 percent from beyond the arc.

» F Kris Joseph (#32)…who is the reigning Big East Player of the Week due to averaging a team-high 14.7 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from downtown. Joseph has posted double-digit points in all but one game this season and is averaging the second-most rebounds with 5.7 per game.
» C Fab Melo (#51)…who is averaging 21.4 minutes per game and has grabbed 36 rebounds on the season with 22 coming on the offensive glass. He’s blocked at least three shots in four games this year including a season-high five against Virginia Tech.
» PG Scoop Jardine (#11)…who has been named one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award (top point guard) and leads Syracuse with 29 assists. Jardine needs just 15 points to become the 56th player in school history with 1,000 career points.

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