No losers Friday at Navy-Marine Corps Classic

The 2012 Navy-Marine Corps Classic was not supposed to end with the head coaches of the participating schools apologizing for ending the game at halftime. Yet while Billy Donovan of the No. 10 Florida Gators and John Thompson III of the Georgetown Hoyas echoed each other’s sentiments and explained that player safety was of paramount importance, the jam-packed 3,500-person crowd on the USS Bataan nodded in agreement and ultimately left just as happy as if it had watched a full game.

“We were very, very disappointed,” said Donovan, explaining to the crowd that condensation that accumulated on the court at halftime would not allow the game to continued. “We certainly want to play. The problem is the floor right now. We do not want anybody to get hurt out here.” [Video at end of story.]

Florida led Georgetown 27-23 at the half. Gators junior forward Will Yeguete once again showed improved offensive proficiency, going 4-for-5 for the field for a game-high eight points and adding a team-high four rebounds.

Both teams went into the locker rooms with their respective coaches trying to figure out how to win the second half but emerged to see dozens of staff members on their hands and knees trying to dry up the gathered condensation off the court.

The squads eventually returned to the hardwood for shoot around; however, when the buzzer sounded to end the session, the court remained soaked and the game was called to ensure the players were not harmed physically.

Florida and Georgetown, which had already spent a full day on Thursday at Navy Mayport Station in Jacksonville, FL meeting with members of the military, taking pictures and signing autographs, were not quick to get off the ship.

Read the rest of this story…after the break!
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Navy-Marine Corps Classic – Jacksonville, FL – No. 10 Florida Gators vs. Georgetown Hoyas

Event: Navy-Marine Corps Classic
Location: USS Bataan at Navy Station Mayport – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 3,500]
Weather Forecast: 51°F, clear, winds NE at 3 mph
Time: 21:15 EDT

TV: NBC Sports Network (Tom Hammond, Stan Van Gundy, Carolyn Manno) [Channel]
SiriusXM: 136/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: None | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 10 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGETOWN HOYAS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: John Thompson III
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5 | O/U 123.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Preparing for windy, cold outdoor game | Casey Prather concussed, again | Scottie Wilbekin suspended

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 2-2 all-time against Georgetown but has been victorious in each of the last two meetings. The Gators are 16-10 against Big East teams overall under Donovan.
» UF has won 21-straight season openers (16-in-a-row under Donovan) dating back to 1991. Florida normally dominates its first game of the season but is playing a much more difficult opponent this time around.
» One season ago, the Gators led the nation in three-pointers by netting 9.8 per contest. UF was so proficient from beyond the arc that the team connected on 10 or more treys in 22 games during the 2011-12 campaign.
» Florida was 10th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3 in 2011-12.
» The Gators were 25-1 last season when holding opponents under 71 points.
» Florida was just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign.
» Three Gators players, 10 coaches and paid staff members, and six members of the student staff have military connections in their families.
» The USS Bataan (LHD 5) is an amphibious assault ship and part of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG). It often holds up to 3,200 crewmen and troops and can “embark, transport, deploy, command and fully support all elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).”
» The USS Bataan is 844 feet long with a 267-foot long deck.

Read the rest of the Florida-Georgetown preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both bench.
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Gators preparing for windy, cold outdoor game

Just as it did when the proposition for two other teams to play outdoors on the deck of a Navy war ship was made exactly one year ago year, the weather is expected to present a number of challenges for the No. 10 Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas when the programs square off on the USS Bataan in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, FL on Friday.

The first concern is the wind, which is expected to be 3-5 mph at tip-off and provides an element that cannot be prepared for by practicing in a windless arena or gymnasium.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan noted Tuesday that his team will not change the way it plays for the game though he is cautioning his players to be smart with their decision making. He wants the Gators to focus on taking away easy baskets and grabbing loose balls (which he expects more of due to lower shooting percentages).

The positive for Florida is that the team has been looking to improve in those two areas all offseason and not specifically for its showdown with Georgetown.

“Obviously I think you’ve got to be smart what kind of shots we do take,” Donovan said. “I think we’ve been practicing a certain way for most of this time to get ready for our season. Both teams are having to deal with the elements outside, whether it’s very cold or windy. Whatever it may be, we’re both going to be dealing with it.”

Gators senior guard Kenny Boynton, a pure shooter who spends most of his time on the perimeter but is hoping to penetrate more this season, knows that the wind will be an issue but believes it will be secondary to the temperature.

“It definitely can impact shooting. Wind is a big factor. I heard it’s going to be 44 degrees. I never played in the cold, I can say that. We’ll see how it goes,” he said.

Read the rest of this story…after the break!
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11/6: Prather concussed again, rebounding issues

Just a few days before his team boards the USS Bataan to take on the Georgetown Hoyas in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to discuss his concerns heading into the 2012-13 season.

A MISSING PIECE FOR FRIDAY

Junior forward Casey Prather broke out in a big way last postseason, but concussion issues have stalled his court time in a big way this fall. After suffering the second concussion of his career nine days ago during a scrimmage, Prather finally returned to practice Monday with hopes of playing on Friday. Unfortunately, he took an elbow to the head during practice and suffered his second concussion in as many weeks, effectively knocking him out of this week’s contest.

“He was totally healed from the first one, so there is no problem as it relates to this necessarily being prolonged because he did have a concussion before that,” Donovan explained. “He got elbowed on a rebound and went down midway through practice. Obviously now with what everybody is doing with concussions, he’s got to go through a series of baseline tests and do those things. They don’t think it’s as bad as it was before, but I would say that he right now is probably not going to play on Friday.”

Though Prather is not a full-time post player, his size (6’6”, 208 lbs.) gives Florida another option down low, especially on defense and when trying to rebound. Considering the Gators are relatively light in the frontcourt this season, not having Prather on Friday is going to hurt and has Donovan considering other options such as playing junior center Patric Young, senior F Erik Murphy and junior F Will Yeguete at the same time.

“I think we’re going to have to look at that now. We have to look at that now just because of Casey’s situation,” Donovan said. “We have not done that a lot. I felt like, with Casey’s injury, I knew he was going to be back for this game. I didn’t anticipate that happening again to him. We’ve got three days here … that we’re going to have to look at some different lineup things.”

REBOUNDING THE GREATEST CONCERN

Donovan was dismayed last week when Florida outrebounded Division II Nebraska-Kearney by just three boards. He tore into the Gators’ effort in the game but said Tuesday that he was pleased the way the team, including his veterans, bounced back and practiced on Monday.

“I was very pleased with the way we came back the next day on Friday. I thought we had a really good practice. I thought they agreed that there were a lot of things we did in that game that were uncharacteristic of the way we practiced. I think there was a recognition of areas that we needed to get better in,” he said.

Though Donvoan recognizes that rebounding with an undersized team is difficult, especially without Prather in the fold, he is indeed worried that UF is not getting better in that area fast enough heading into the regular season.

“To me it is still a major concern. I don’t like it. I think we can be a whole lot better. I think it’s got to be a collective effort by our guys in the game,” he said. “In the exhibition game, I think Patric and Erik together combined for a total of 40 minutes and they grabbed seven rebounds – two guys. That’s not good enough. They’ve got to go after the basketball on the glass. They’ve got to come down with it. They got to go hard after it, and our guards have got to get in there now, too. One of the things that is bothering me as a coach is we don’t leave the floor. We are the best on-the-floor rebounding team in the country but unfortunately as we’re standing on the ground, someone else is jumping. It’s a point that has really been pounded home.”

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Florida Gators Nike camouflage sneakers, t-shirt

Two of eight teams set to play in a military-themed game aboard an aircraft carrier on Nov. 9, the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas will be wearing camouflage-style uniforms when the teams square off in Jacksonville, FL on the deck of the USS Bataan in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic.

On Thursday, fans got a sneak peak at what will likely be the uniform that Florida will wear for the special game. It is a version of the team’s current orange alternates (introduced in 2011-12) infused with a noticeable camouflage pattern.

The Gators will also be wearing these shoes (below), the Nike Hyperfuse 2012 “Carrier Classic” Florida PE, during the game. The camouflage is digitized and off-set by an eye-catching blue fabric as well as a blue translucent sole.

Nike has also released a special “United We Stand.” t-shirt that can be purchased by fans to commemorate the occasion. The t-shirt, pictured below and available for sale here, is blue with orange camouflage letters.

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Florida’s Nike camo uniforms for Corps Classic

One of eight teams set to play in a military-themed game aboard an aircraft carrier on Nov. 9, the Florida Gators received what appears to be a first-look at the uniforms that the team will be wearing when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas in Jacksonville, FL on the deck of the USS Bataan in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic.

The above picture, snapped by Andy Hutchins of SBNation’s Alligator Army while taking a tour of Florida’s locker room during the Rowdy Fest event put on Monday, shows the same uniforms the Gators debuted in the 2011-12 season but with a camouflage design.

Aside from the fact that this was posted in the Florida locker room, it makes sense that these would be the uniforms worn by the Gators for the game as the Hoyas do have a blue, grey and white color scheme.

Though it has not yet been confirmed that Florida will be wearing these uniforms, OGGOA will update this post when more information (and/or a confirmation) is available.

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Florida basketball’s complete 2012-13 schedule

Florida Gators basketball on Tuesday announced the times for all of the team’s non-conference games this season, officially completing the 2012-13 schedule. Florida will face a total of nine opponents who took part in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Gators will also participate in three events within the state – Navy/Marine Corps Classic, SEC/BIG EAST Challenge and Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

UF will take on their permanent rival of Kentucky twice as part of the Southeastern Conference‘s new 18-game schedule; Florida begins its annual rotation facing Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State and Missouri twice each.

The Gators start their SEC slate with four of their first six games on the road but will then have four of their next five at home concluding with Kentucky on Feb. 12.

Florida will play one game on CBS, 17 on ESPN networks, two on the NBC Sports Network, four on the SEC Network, seven on Sun Sports/FOX Sports Network and one on Comcast Sports South.

During non-conference and SEC competition combined, the Gators will play 20-of-31 games on national television including the conference’s season finale.

Below is the official 2012-13 schedule:

Date/TimeGator BaitResult
11/6 at 7:00 pm (SECN+)vs. Barry (Exh.)EXH.
11/14 at 6:00 pm (SECN)vs. William & Mary
11/17 at 7:00 pm (ESPNU)vs. Miami
11/21 at 8:00 pm (SECN)vs. La.-Monroe
11/26 at 9:30 pm (AXS)vs. GeorgetownB4A
11/27 at TBD (TBD)Wisconsin or UABB4A
11/28 at TBD (TBD)vs. TBDB4A
12/5 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)at KansasSEC-Big 12
12/8 at 7:00 pm (SECN)vs. Yale
12/12 at 7:00 pm (SECN)vs. Texas So.
12/14 at 4:00 pm (FSN)vs. Jacksonville
12/20 at 5:00 pm (FSN)vs. Wake ForestOBBC
12/30 at 7:00 pm (ESPN2)at Florida State
1/3 at 2:00 pm (CBS)vs. UConn
1/7 at 7:00 pm (SECN)at So. CarolinaSEC
1/10 at 7:00 pm (FSN)vs. Miss. StateSEC
1/15 at 7:00 pm (ESPN/2)vs. AuburnSEC
1/17 at 2:00 pm (CBS)at GeorgiaSEC
1/20 at 7:00 pm (ESPN)vs. LSUSEC
1/24 at 8:00 pm (SECN)at Ole MissSEC
1/27 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)at AlabamaSEC
1/31 at 1:00 pm (CBS)vs. ArkansasSEC
2/3 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)at VanderbiltSEC
2/7 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)vs. KentuckySEC
2/12 at 7:00 pm (ESPN/2)vs. Ole MissSEC
2/14 at 6:30 pm (SECN)at Texas A&MSEC
2/18 at 7:00 pm (SECN)vs. VanderbiltSEC
2/21 at 1:00 pm (CBS)at LSUSEC
2/24 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)at MissouriSEC
2/28 at TBD (ESPN/2)vs. TennesseeSEC
3/3 at 9:00 pm (ESPNU)vs. Texas A&MSEC
3/7 at 2:00 pm (CBS)at KentuckySEC

SCHEDULE NOTES

» The Gators will play four games in the state of Florida but outside of Gainesville for the second-straight year (Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, Sunrise).
» Twelve teams each from the SEC and Big East will each compete in the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Florida last faced and defeated Marquette 68-56 in the Sweet 16 round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
» Senior forward Erik Murphy will be able to play in front of friends and family during UF’s road game against Yale. He is from South Kingstown, RI.
» Florida will play three games on ESPNU for the first time ever after having one game scheduled on the network in each of the last two seasons.

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