Gameday: No. 8 Florida Gators vs. Miami


Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPNU (Mark Jones, Stan Heath)
Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 136/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

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

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: Dorian Finney-Smith suffers hairline fractures in hand, cleared to play
Notebook: Dillon Graham decides to transfer

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

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Fastbreak: Florida works William & Mary 68-45

No. 7 Florida Gators basketball opened the 2014-15 season on Friday evening, hosting the William & Mary Tribe at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators took down the Tribe 68-45, winning their 24th consecutive season-opening game and improving to 19-0 in such games under Donovan. UF also extended its home winning streak to 33 games, the longest such streak in program history, which is also tied for the longest active streak in the nation.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Friday’s action with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida held an insurmountable halftime lead but still had its share of struggles in the second period. With five minutes left to play, freshmen point guard Chris Chiozza and forward Devin Robinson hooked up on a pair of plays that pushed the Gators’ lead up to 26. Chiozza first hit Robinson for an alley-oop. On the very next possession, Chiozza took off on a fastbreak, finding Robinson under the basket for a layup that put UF ahead 63-37 with 4:45 to play. Chiozza did it all with four points (2-of-2 shooting) with three assists and two rebounds, while Robinson went 4-for-9 from the field with four boards and a late block.

Prominent player: Redshirt junior F Dorian Finney-Smith sprained his left wrist early in the contest but returned after a short trip to the locker room and wound up as Florida’s top performer on Friday. Finney-Smith scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, hitting all four of his free throws and adding five boards to boot. He netted five-straight as part of a 7-0 UF run in the second half and scored nine of the Gators’ first 13 points in the later period. He left the court late in the second half but most likely as a precaution.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
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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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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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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.
Continue Reading » The Fastbreak: No. 7 Florida Gators escape Barry with a 79-70 exhibition victory

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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.

Continue Reading » 2014-15 Florida basketball primer: Can the Gators keep it going with a rebuilt starting five?

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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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Billy Donovan on Florida’s practice intensity, Eli Carter’s return, early evaluations, SEC Media Day

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, less than one week after his team began fall practice. Donovan discussed a number of pressing topics facing the Gators as they prepare for the 2014-15 season.

DOUBLE RAINBOW PRACTICES!

Donovan put Florida to work as soon as the team convened for practice last week, holding double sessions on Friday and Saturday with Sunday off and a fifth practice on Monday. Overall, he was pleased with the early results, especially on Saturday when there was a lot of installing and teaching going on with the team.

“Their attitude was good. They worked hard. It was really good effort. I thought there was sustained intensity. I thought the two freshmen, there was a lot thrown at them in those first four practices on Friday and Saturday, and they seemed to absorb it. They have a pretty good basketball IQ, picked things up. I think those guys will continue to get better,” he explained.

Asked why the Gators did not open practice with more pomp and circumstance – such as Midnight Madness (with or without a rap star running out with the team only to airball a shot) – Donovan somewhat avoided the question, instead pointing to his preference to get the team as ready as possible for the season with the time he has allotted.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan on Florida’s practice intensity, Eli Carter’s return, early evaluations, SEC Media Day

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