11/12: Florida at Wisconsin post-game report

No. 10/11 Florida Gators basketball (1-1), still short-handed due to suspensions, fell Tuesday night on the road with the No. 19/20 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) picking up a 59-53 victory at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. After the loss, Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on the defeat.

HIGHLIGHTS

OPENING STATEMENT

“I think this environment really helped our team. … It was a great, great environment. I thought it was a tremendous experience for our basketball team being the second game of the year playing against an opponent like this. I thought we really made some strides from our last game to this game. We’ve gotten better.

“I thought we had a really, really hard time finishing some plays in particular around the basket. We missed a lot of layups and finishes at the rim that I think hurt us. We really did not take an enormous amount of three-point shots in the game, but the plays that we had around the basket, we probably didn’t make enough plays offensively. … We dug ourselves a hole. We battled, fought back. I thought overall for us there’s a lot we can take from this.”

MIXED PERFORMANCE FROM STANDOUTS

No single Florida player had an all-around great game, according to Donovan. Even sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, who scored a career-high 20 points off the bench via an impressive shooting performance (7-for-11 from the field, 5-for-7 from three), deserved his fair share of criticism.

“He shot the ball well again. He’s really a great shooter. He’s one of the best shooters I’ve coached,” Donovan said. “But he has got a long way to go defensively. I think he had 20 tonight. I’ll have to go back and see how many he gave up.”

Freshman point guard Kasey Hill looked to be in a great mindset early in the contest but seemed to deteriorate as the game went on. Hill fouled out of the game with 3:25 left and only made 2-of-11 shot attempts on the evening. Wisconsin made a concerted effort to take the ball out of others’ hands and give Hill room to shoot, especially from long range.

“For Kasey, the one thing I felt in the game was he really struggled shooting the basketball. And he took 11 shots; he probably could have taken 21 shots with the way they were playing him. I give him credit for his patience offensively. But I thought his lack of putting the ball in the basket really, really impacted him on the defensive end of the floor being a young guy,” Donovan explained. “He was visibly, to me, [looked] disappointed, upset, bothered, and I think that led to some of his foul trouble. He’s got to be able to move to the next play as a young kid.

“Obviously I’ve put him in a very difficult situation. The fact that he’s a freshman and we don’t have another point guard right now on our team and he’s got to absorb a lot of minutes. He’s kind of having to learn on the job, and I’m not so sure that’s the fairest thing to him. So there’s going to be some growing pains and some bumps and bruises on the way.”

Continue Reading » 11/12: Florida at Wisconsin post-game report

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Gameday: No. 11 Florida vs. No. 20 Wisconsin

Location: Kohl Center – Madison, WI [Capacity: 17,230]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Dan Dakich)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(10/11) FLORIDA GATORS (19/20) WISCONSIN BADGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bo Ryan
Record: 1-0 Record: 1-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big Ten
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +6 | O/U 137

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Story: Casey Prather primed to emerge in senior season
» Notebook: Updates on Florida’s injuries and suspensions

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads Wisconsin 2-1 in the all-time series between the two programs.
» The Gators are replacing their three leading scorers from 2012-13.
» UF is looking to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07 after having its season end in the Elite Eight in each of the last three years.
» Florida was 4-2 against top 25-ranked opponents last season with both losses coming away from its home court.
» The Gators are 55-7 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida was 0-6 last season in single-digit decisions.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. The Gators have him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Donovan is currently the longest-tenured head basketball coach in the SEC.
» Ryan’s Badgers team is 181-18 at home over the last 12 seasons, boasting a 90-7 record against non-conference opponents to boot.

Read the rest of the Florida-Wisconsin gameday preview…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 11 Florida vs. No. 20 Wisconsin

Tags: , , , , , , ,

3/31: Florida vs. Michigan post-game report

The three-seed Florida Gators (29-8) collapsed in their most important game of the season on Sunday as they got routed 79-59 by the four-seed Michigan Wolverines (30-7) in the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and a number of his players met with the media to discuss what transpired in their failed Final Four bid.

OPENING STATEMENT

“They capitalized on our turnovers. I thought we dug ourselves a hole very early in the game. … I think in the first half we missed 11 shots within three feet of the basket. They got off to a hot start and us not being able to manufacture enough points I thought really, really dug us a hole. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to go. … But I thought our guys – to start the second half came out – we battled, we fought, but we hurt ourselves with the way we played. … I just didn’t think that we did enough things there on both ends of the floor. I thought our defense in the second half was a little bit more characteristic of the way we’ve played this year. I thought our offense in a lot of ways, because we had some very, very, I thought, good quality looks deflated us around the basket. Especially against a team that’s not a great shot blocking team.”

THIRD TIME IS NOT A CHARM

Florida became the first team in NCAA Tournament history (since the field expanded to 64 teams) to lose three-straight times in the Elite Eight. Yet while the Gators did drop the game, they did not even have the opportunity to choke it away like the previous two years because UF never led at any point in the game. In fact, once Michigan opened the contest on a 13-0 run, Florida never trailed by fewer than 11 points over the duration of the contest. It is for that reason why Donovan was not emotional after the game.

“This is a totally different feel than the last two. The last two to me we gave ourselves every opportunity to win,” he explained.

“The Butler game was an overtime game, the Louisville game was a two point game. This one we didn’t play well enough or deserve to win the game. Michigan deserved this game. They played better than us. They performed better. They did things that were necessary to beat us. The other two games I was heartbroken for our team because we were really, really close. We weren’t that close here [Sunday].”

Asked how, as a coach, it felt to lose in three-straight Elite Eights and not advance to the Final Four, Donovan brushed off those concerns. “Well, it’s not really about me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be there as a player and several times as a coach,” he said. “I feel more upset for [Kenny] Boynton, [Mike] Rosario and [Erik] Murphy, [guys] who don’t get a chance and have come so close. I’ve experienced the Final Four enough. I want our program to continue to experience it and our players.”

To their credit, the players also took the loss relatively well all things considering. Boynton kept his chin up about the situation, expressing his regrets but also his appreciation for what his teammates and coach have done for him.

Continue Reading » 3/31: Florida vs. Michigan post-game report

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(4) Wolverines overwhelm (3) Gators 79-59 as Florida drops third-straight Elite Eight

The third time was certainly not a charm for the three-seed Florida Gators, which trailed from wire-to-wire and watched the more athletic and determined four-seed Michigan Wolverines dominate their Elite Eight showdown on Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Florida (29-8), which became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to lose in the Elite Eight in three-straight seasons since the field expanded to 64 teams, was taken down 79-59 by Michigan (30-7), which moved on to its first Final Four since 1994.

The Gators put together one of their worst offensive performances of the season, entering Sunday’s game with a game plan that simply did not work against a longer and stronger Wolverines team. UF also played lackluster defense most of the contest, allowing its opponent to do basically whatever it wanted in both halves.

In fact, two of Florida’s starters – senior forward Erik Murphy and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin – combined to go 1-for-17 from the field and 0-for-2 from downtown with seven combined turnovers. The Gators simply never had a chance to blow its third-straight second-half lead in the round because they never had a lead to begin with.

Continue Reading » (4) Wolverines overwhelm (3) Gators 79-59 as Florida drops third-straight Elite Eight

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NCAA Tournament Gameday: (3) Florida Gators vs. (4) Michigan Wolverines

Location: Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, TX [Capacity: 42,614]
Time: 2:20 p.m. EDT

TV: CBS (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: NCAA.com | Mobile Video: NCAA March Madness Live
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

(3) FLORIDA GATORS (4) MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: John Beilein
Record: 29-7 Record: 29-7
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big Ten
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3 | O/U 135

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Notes & Quotes: Florida and Michigan prepare for Elite Eight

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 31-10 in 13 NCAA Tournaments under Donovan and has reached at least the Elite Eight in five of the last eight (two national titles). The Gators advanced to the Elite Eight for the third-straight year with a 62-50 win over FGCU on Friday. Florida has lost consecutive Elite Eights and, should it lose on Sunday, would be the first team in the history of the tournament to drop three-straight regional finals since the event expanded to 64 teams. The Gators have not advanced to the Final Four since 2007.
» Donovan’s 31 NCAA Tournament victories are the most by any SEC coach.
» UF Is looking for its third 30-win season in school history.
» Florida is 1-1* all-time against Michigan with Donovan holding a 1-0 mark. He is also 9-8 against current members of the Big Ten (4-2 in the NCAA Tournament). [*Vacated]
» The Wolverines are in their third-straight NCAA Tournament but are making their first Elite Eight appearance since 1994. Michigan has not been in the Final Four since 1993*. [*Final Four appearances in 1992 and 1993 were vacated. UM has not been back to the round, according to the record books, since 1989.]
» Florida is 54-7 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (28-6 in 2012-13).
» The Gators and Wolverines each have four starters that average in double figures with Michigan having two that average 14.8 points per game or more. No one on Florida averages more than 12.6 points per contest.
» UF is 4-1 against top-25 opponents this season after going 3-5 against ranked adversaries last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams.
» Florida is 0-6 this season in single-digit decisions while UM is 8-6 (2-1 in overtime).
» The Gators are ranked first nationally in scoring margin (+18.1), third in scoring defense (53.7), seventh in field goal defense (.379), 13th in field goal percentage (.480), 18th in three-pointers per game (8.3) and 24th in assist-turnover ratio (1.32). Florida is also seventh nationally in fouling (14.1) and 214th in free throw percentage (.681).
» The Wolverines are first nationally in assist-turnover ratio (1.55), sixth in field goal percentage (.486), 12th in scoring margin (+12.4) and 23rd in scoring offense (75.4) and three-point percentage (.381). Michigan is also second nationally in fouling (12.7) and 13rth in free throw percentage (.705).

Read the rest of the Florida-Michigan gameday preview…after the break!
Continue Reading » NCAA Tournament Gameday: (3) Florida Gators vs. (4) Michigan Wolverines

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3/30: Florida and Michigan prepare for Elite Eight

The three-seed Florida Gators (29-7) advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA Tournament and will face the (4) Michigan Wolverines (29-7) on Sunday at 2:20 p.m. live on CBS from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. On Saturday, both coaches and their players met with the media to discuss the upcoming showdown.

AVOIDING A THIRD-STRAIGHT LOSS IN THE ELITE EIGHT

Florida’s accomplish of reaching three-straight Elite Eights certainly should not be overlooked, but the Gators also face the possibility of being the first team in NCAA history (since the tournament expanded to at least 64 teams) of falling in the round three years in a row. Asked Saturday if the experience of those losses will benefit Florida this time around, Donovan somewhat dismissed the notion.

“The opportunity, I think these guys are all excited about it and I’m excited for them to be back in this position again. It’s a different opponent than we’ve had the last two years. It’s a great opportunity. I’m not so sure what we take from those situations that could really help us get prepared for Michigan,” he said.

“This game stands on itself. It’s got its own separate identity as itself. It’s in the moment. It’s now. It’s here. It’s present. I think these guys have been in this situation. They’ve worked very, very hard to get here, but they also know when you get into this situation it’s a great, great challenge. And you cannot play 20 or 25 or 30 minutes, you’re going to have to play a whole complete game. I believe when you get to this point in the time in the season there’s eight teams left, these eight teams are playing very, very good basketball. And in these moments you’ve also got to play very well.”

Junior center Patric Young, a freshman during the Gators’ first Elite Eight loss in 2011, echoed his coach’s sentiments but said the heartbreak will only further motivate Florida.

Continue Reading » 3/30: Florida and Michigan prepare for Elite Eight

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rosario’s career night propels (3) Florida over (11) Minnesota 78-64 and into Sweet 16 vs. FGCU

As dominant of a first half as the three-seed Florida Gators have put together this season coupled with a strong final nine minutes and a career-high 25 points from redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario fueled the Southeastern Conference champions to an impressive 78-64 victory over the 11-seed Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday and into their third-straight Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan, who earned his seventh-straight win over Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith, saw his Gators explode with a 27-5 scoring stretch in the first half that put them ahead of the Golden Gophers for good.

Senior forward Erik Murphy and redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario exploded in the first half, while junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was a big-time spark for UF in the second half of the team’s second game of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX.

Rosario went 8-for-12 from the field, 6-for-9 from downtown and 3-for-4 from the free throw line for his UF career-high 25 points. Murphy finished with 15 points on 2-of-4 shooting from three, and Wilbekin went 7-of-10 from the charity stripe to post 12 points along with a game-high six assists.

With the game tied at 10 early in the opening period, Rosario hit consecutive threes as part of a 12-2 run that pushed Florida ahead 22-12. Two more treys from Rosario, complimented by one from Murphy, helped the Gators score 11-straight points and extend their scoring stretch to 27-5. UF led 37-15 with 5:17 left in the first half.

Minnesota (21-13) responded with a 10-2 run of its own fueled by four Florida turnovers in five possessions including two especially reckless miscues from Wilbekin and cut their deficit to 14 with 3:12 remaining.

The Gators (28-7) answered with nine-straight points including a second three from Murphy and a highlight alley-oop from Wilbekin to junior F Casey Prather to go up 23.

Continue Reading » Rosario’s career night propels (3) Florida over (11) Minnesota 78-64 and into Sweet 16 vs. FGCU

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NCAA Tournament Gameday: (3) Florida Gators vs. (11) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Location: Frank Erwin Center – Austin, TX [Capacity: 16,292]
Time: 6:10 p.m. EDT

TV: TNT (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston)
SiriusXM: 93/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: NCAA.com | Mobile Video: NCAA March Madness Live
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

(3) FLORIDA GATORS (11) MINNESOTA … GOPHERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Tubby Smith
Record: 27-7 Record: 21-12
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big Ten
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -8 | O/U 125.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 29-10 in 13 NCAA Tournaments under Donovan and has reached at least the Elite Eight round in four of the last seven seasons (two national titles). The Gators advanced to the round of 32 for the third-straight year with a 79-47 win over Northwestern State on Friday.
» Minnesota is 1-0 all-time against Florida (74-66 in 1993 NIT). The Gators are 8-8 against members of the Big Ten under Donovan (3-2 in NCAA Tournament games).
» Smith owns a 14-10 record head-to-head against Donovan, but Donovan has been victorious the last six times the two coaches have squared off.
» Florida is 52-7 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (65-6 in 2012-13).
» The Gators have four starters that average in double figures, while the Golden Gophers have three with Trevor Mbakwe also averaging 9.9 points per game.
» UF is 4-1 against top-25 opponents this season after going 3-5 against ranked adversaries last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams.
» Florida is 0-6 this season in single-digit decisions while Minnesota is 6-7.
» The Gators are ranked first nationally in scoring margin (+18.4), second in scoring defense (53.5), fourth in field goal defense (.377), 11th in field goal percentage (.481), 15th in three-pointers per game (8.4), 17th in three-point defense (.297) and 21st in assist-turnover ratio (1.34). Florida is also sixth nationally in fouling (14.1) and 223rd in free throw percentage (.678).
» The Golden Gophers are ninth nationally in rebounding margin (7.8) and 12th in blocked shots (5.6). Minnesota is also 207th nationally in free throw percentage (.683).

Read the rest of the Florida-Minnesota gameday preview…after the break!
Continue Reading » NCAA Tournament Gameday: (3) Florida Gators vs. (11) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 1 of 3  1  2  3 »