Gameday: No. 7 Florida Gators vs. William & Mary


Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 6:00 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Dave O’Brien, Sean Farnham)
Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 92/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 7 FLORIDA GATORS WILLIAM & MARY TRIBE
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Tony Shaver
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Colonial AA

Odds: Florida -18.5 | O/U 140

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Story: Two Gators named 2014 Preseason All-SEC
Notebook: Florida basketball undeserving of No. 7 preseason ranking

MUST-READ PRIMER: Can the Gators keep it going with a rebuilt starting five?

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Donovan: No. 7 Gators undeserving of ranking

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Wednesday, two days before his team opens the 2014-16 regular season against the William & Mary Tribe on Friday, Nov. 14 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE

Ahead of last season, Donovan chastised the Gators, going out of his way to say that Florida was nowhere near as good as advertised. Twelve months later, his attitude has not changed all that much. Is UF the seventh-best team in the country? “No, not even remotely close,” he said Wednesday.

“We’ve talked a lot about that from the perspective of… I know what those kinds of teams look like, and we’re not one of those teams,” Donovan added.

Did Donovan say the same thing last year about a team that wound up advancing to the Final Four for the first time in seven seasons? You bet. Does that mean that he recognizes his standard annual pessimism? Not one bit, because every season is different and this year’s issues are different than those that the Gators had in 2013-14.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, November 13: Basketball signings, Tebow, Mullen on Meyer

Basketball: early signing period

College’s basketball’s early signing period began Wednesday, and the Florida Gators expect to receive National Letters of Intent from three of their four 2015 commitments – four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL), three-star PF Kevarrius Hayes (Live, Oak, FL) and three-star small forward Keith Stone (Deerfield Beach, FL) – before that period is out.

Florida is not sure, however, when it will be given an NLI from its highest-rated pledge, four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, AR). The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported Tuesday that Allen “will not sign during the early period and will hold off until the spring to sign,” despite planning to remain committed to the Gators.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for Thursday, November 13: Basketball signings, Tebow, Mullen on Meyer

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Donovan displeased with five-star frosh Robinson

The transition from high school to college basketball is difficult for any player, including those hyped up with five-star ratings, but the Florida Gators and head coach Billy Donovan have been lucky in the recent past with youngsters that entered the program mature beyond their years.

That may still be the case with freshman forward Devin Robinson, one of the highest-rated high school players in the country last year, but the five-star prospect did not show that maturity on the court in Florida’s exhibition on Thursday night.

“It wasn’t even close [to what I expect]. Really poor,” said Donovan of Robinson’s performance.

“When you’re picking up the ball off the floor and shooting it, the first touch in the game is bombing up shots, that is someone who is totally focused on scoring. He needs to change his mentality in terms of what he has really got to focus on. I thought he got into the game, he played seven minutes and took six shots…he played 17 minutes and took 10 shots, and I can’t say any of them were any good.”

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Billy Donovan criticizes Florida Gators for lack of defense, toughness, post presence

Before the start of each season, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan finds a number of issues with his team and is brutally honest about his criticisms to the public as a method of toughening up his players and motivating them to improve. Perhaps this season more than ever before, his issues are less contrived and more blatant with No. 7 Florida showing plenty of deficiencies in Thursday night’s exhibition game against Barry.

For starters, the Gators were ineffective defensively with a number of players not even caring to participate in their standard rotations. Donovan took notice and was offended by his team’s lack of mental toughness.

“I’m trying to figure out right now…are we even talented enough to play defense? Regardless of what you do or how you play defensively, you still have to go hard and you still have to do something. I think we are better than what we showed, but we’re just not tough enough, in my opinion. We’re just not tough enough,” he explained.

“When I say ‘tough enough,’ I don’t mean ‘tough enough’ in terms of like physically bodying [an opposing player]. Just like ‘tough enough’ of… If I can take three more steps to my left then I’m in a really good defensive position and I can help, but it’s just really more convenient to stay over here; that kind of mental perseverance, toughness, resiliency. … When you [don’t] do that, to me, sometimes that’s actually a reflection of what you feel about your teammates. And we got to get much, much better in terms of becoming a cohesive unit.”

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The Fastbreak: No. 7 Florida Gators escape Barry with a 79-70 exhibition victory

No. 7 Florida Gators basketball participated in its final tune-up for the 2014-15 season when it faced the Barry Buccaneers in an exhibition game on Thursday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators took down the Bucs 79-70, winning their 24th exhibition opener in a row and improving to 38-2-1 in such games under Donovan.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Thursday’s action with seven quick-hitters:

It was over when: With less than 90 seconds remaining, freshman point guard Chris Chiozza found redshirt junior guard Eli Carter in the corner for a wide-open three-pointer that put the Gators up 13. Carter drained it with ease and finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, draining 5-of-9 attempts from beyond the arc. Chiozza dished three assists and did not commit a single turnover in 14 minutes.

Prominent player: Redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith was the most consistent and effective player on the court for Florida, posting a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 5-of-10 shots from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 at the charity stripe.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
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2014-15 Florida basketball primer: Can the Gators keep it going with a rebuilt starting five?

Despite losing four senior starters to graduation, Florida Gators basketball will enter the 2014-15 season as the consensus No. 7 team in the nation, coming off its return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07.

Florida finished the 2013-14 campaign with a program-best 36-3 record, winning a program-record 30-straight games at one point and dropping its three contests to a pair of opponents including twice to eventual national champion UConn. UF beat Kentucky thrice (including in the finals of the 2014 SEC Tournament), became the first SEC team to finish 18-0 in league play (21-0 including the SEC Tournament), and went undefeated (17-0) in the friendly confines of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

The Gators also captured their second-straight SEC regular-season crown and swept both SEC championship titles for just the second time in program history (2007).

Though none of Florida’s four seniors were selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, three were given tryouts with NBA teams and center Patric Young caught on with the New Orleans Pelicans as an undrafted free agent.

Head coach Billy Donovan, entering his 19th year with the program coming off his third SEC Coach of the Year award in four seasons, will look to lead UF to at least the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth-straight season. He brings two new transfers and one of the nation’s best recruiting classes into the fold, though not all of the players will be available this season.

Here’s what Donovan (451-169, 195-100 SEC) has to work with as the Gators prepare for their exhibition game on Thursday evening in Gainesville, Florida.

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11/4: Donovan wants Gators to shut up and play

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Tuesday, two days before his team takes the court for an exhibition game against Barry University on Thursday ahead of the 2014-15 regular-season opener.

SHUT UP AND PLAY

Sources told OnlyGators.com over the weekend that the Florida-VCU “secret scrimmage” held on Nov. 1 went swimmingly, at least for the teams’ respective offenses. Donovan basically confirmed that information on Tuesday.

“Defensively, we have a really, really long way to go. And I think a lot of it, to be honest with you, is just we’re not very cohesive at all right now,” he said.

What Donovan is speaking to specifically is the fact that the Gators currently have too many voices in the huddle. Though the players are coming from a good place – trying to improve as leaders by following in the footsteps of last year’s seniors – that is not exactly what Florida needs right now.

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