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.