12/10: Florida vs. Kansas post-game report

The No. 19 Florida Gators (7-2) held on for hard-fought 67-61 victory over the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-3) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL in the final game of the Big 12-SEC Challenge despite facing heavy resistance from the visitors in the second half. Head coach Billy Donovan met with the media following the game to discuss Florida’s most notable victory of the young season.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is now 2-1 against Kansas under Donovan, though the Jayhawks still lead 3-2 in the all-time series against the Gators.
» UF improved to 5-4 against top 25-ranked opponents dating back to last season with all five wins coming inside the O’Dome.
» Florida has now won 22-straight non-conference games in the House of Horrors and 21 consecutive home games overall, the second-longest streak in school history.
» The Gators are now 61-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is already 3-2 in single-digit decisions this season after going 0-6 in contests decided by fewer than 10 points in 2012-13. Six of UF’s eight losses last year were by six points or less, a constant black mark on the campaign.
» Tuesday night’s game was sold out with a listed attendance of 12,423.
» Despite the Gators’ thrilling victory, the SEC had already lost the Big 12-SEC Challenge before the game even started. The Big 12 held a 6-2 advantage heading into Tuesday’s contest and now leads 6-3. Oklahoma and Texas A&M will play the final game of the challenge on Saturday, Dec. 21.
» According to The Gainesville Sun, UF and KU may have a return showdown next season in Lawrence, KS.
» About two dozen scouts were in attendance at the game.

DYNAMIC DUO

The Gators played their best half of the season in the first 20 minutes of Tuesday’s game, and it just so happened to be the first time that both of their point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill were able to play in the same rotation and on the court simultaneously.

Wilbekin posted a career-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes but what he did elsewhere was even more impressive. He played lock down defense at times, much of it in the frontcourt (more on that below) while dishing six dimes and picking up four steals. It was quite a turnaround from his lackluster performance in the second half at UConn, a game in which he shot 6-of-14 and committed three costly turnovers.

“He always plays really hard. He gives me great effort all the time,” explained Donovan. “I didn’t think he played very well at UConn. He really, really struggled, had some turnovers late when we had a seven or eight-point lead, made some poor decisions, missed some shots. I thought he struggled in that game. I think having a week off and maybe missing a couple days and having three days to get ready for this game, I think he was eager to play well and knew that maybe the UConn game was a game that we had every opportunity to win and maybe it slipped away there a little bit from us at the end. I think, for him, he was pretty focused on wanting to come back and play better [Tuesday].”

Continue Reading » 12/10: Florida vs. Kansas post-game report

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Fastbreak: Florida holds on to top Kansas 67-61

The No. 19 Florida Gators (7-2) scored their most prominent win of the young season on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, holding on for a hard-fought 67-61 victory over the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-3) in the final game of the 2013 Big-12 SEC Challenge.

OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ seventh win with The Fastbreak.

It was over when: Kansas committed its 24th turnover of the game with 45.3 seconds remaining, giving Florida the ball back with a six-point lead. Senior forward Casey Prather got fouled on the ensuing offensive possession, headed to the line and hit two free throws to put UF up eight with 37.1 seconds left. Though KU cut its deficit to four points, Prather hit 10-of-12 free throws in the second half to propel his team to victory. He scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards.

Prominent player: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was a firecracker for the Gators all night, playing superb basketball in the first half and seemingly finding a way to put the ball in the basket every time the Jayhawks threatened in the latter 20 minutes. He handled the rock like a dream and played terrific defense, too, finishing with a team-highs of six assists, four steals and, oh yeah, 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Standout stat: Florida dominated all phases of the game in the first half, leading by 18 at one point and taking a 15-point advantage into the break. The Gators accomplished this by outrebounding their opponents 11-4 on the offensive glass. Florida also forced Kansas to commit 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, matching a season-high the visitors had registered in an entire game. KU fought back in the second half by “only” coughing it up eight times and grabbing four more offensive rebounds than UF.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak after the, well, break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida holds on to top Kansas 67-61

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Gameday: No. 19 Florida Gators vs. No. 13 Kansas

Event: Big 12/SEC Challenge
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(19) FLORIDA GATORS (13) KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bill Self
Record: 6-2 Record: 6-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3 | O/U 138

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Buzzer beatings: Florida and Kansas each got handed tough losses in their last games as the Gators and Jayhawks both fell on buzzer beaters in a six-day span. UConn topped UF 65-64 on Monday, while Colorado beat KU 75-72.
» The Jayhawks are 3-1 in their all-time series against the Gators, but Florida is 1-1 against Kansas under Donovan.
» UF is 4-4 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all four losses coming away from its home court.
» Florida has won 21-straight non-conference games in the O’Dome and 20 consecutive home games overall, the second-longest streak in school history.
» One-third of the Gators’ 2013-14 schedule thus far has been against top 25-ranked opponents. The Jayhawks are the third such team UF has faced this season.
» Florida is 60-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF’s defense has started off allowing just 60.0 points per game through eight contests, making it the stingiest in the SEC; no opponent has scored more than 69.
» The Gators have already used five different starting lineups through eight games. Only two players – seniors forward Casey Prather and center Patric Young – have started every contest thus far.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. Florida has him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts was on Donovan’s staff during the 2011-12 season that resulted in the team advancing to the Elite Eight.

Read the rest of the Florida-Kansas gameday preview…after the break!

Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 19 Florida Gators vs. No. 13 Kansas

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12/9: Donovan on PGs, Walker, Harris, Kansas

No. 19 Florida Gators (6-2) head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, one day before his team hosts the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-2) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge. Florida and Kansas will square off on Tuesday at 7 p.m. live on ESPN.

POINT GUARDS WILL PLAY

As was reported by OnlyGators.com last week and confirmed by the Gators on Saturday, senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) has been cleared to play against the Jayhawks. Donovan said on Monday that the player has been “fine” and practicing the last few days without incident. Even though Wilbekin was initially “diagnosed” with a high-ankle sprain, Donovan admitted that the player could have practiced the next day but was held out as a precaution.

Freshman point guard Kasey Hill, who OnlyGators.com also reported would probably see some action as a reserve in his first game back from a high-ankle sprain, has also been cleared by play. Donovan went a bit more in-depth about Hill’s status.

“It’s really hard for me to say how much he will play, will not play. [Sunday] was the first day he’s done some things as it relates to contact. There is some tentativeness there. He’s not in great pain. I think he’s still probably recovering,” he said. “This is the first time he’ll be out there. We’ve been doing individual workouts and those kinds of things with him. For what his role would be in [Tuesday's] game would be too hard to say, but I would say he’ll be available to be put into the game. …

“There’s really no limitations on Kasey’s playing time from the doctors … but because he’s been out and he’s been out of practice so long – that’s been nearly three weeks right now – I just don’t know what I’m going to get for him. We’ll give him an opportunity. He’ll have another day of practice under his belt. Hopefully he’ll get back to feeling a little bit more comfortable. He feels pretty good right now, and as long as that continues, we’ll use him as we need him.”

COMING SOON: CHRIS WALKER

As OnlyGators.com, citing two sources, reported on Dec. 4, five-star incoming freshman forward Chris Walker has completed his academic requirements and is scheduled to join the Florida basketball program for the first time on Saturday. A third source confirmed Monday that Walker has been told to report to the team Saturday.

Donovan confirmed OnlyGators.com‘s report that Walker’s academic coursework is complete and he is simply awaiting clearance from both by the University of Florida and the NCAA Clearinghouse.

“He’s got to go through an admissions process like any other student here for the second semester,” he said. “Now it’s kind of our of our hands and we’re just waiting to hear back of what the ruling will be in terms of him being a qualifier, being able to start school.”

OnlyGators.com learned last week that Donovan has already been told Walker will be academically cleared and able to practice, hence Saturday being set as his reporting date. Donovan admitted as much, correctly noting that Walker cannot join the team until final exams end for the fall 2013 semester. The last exams will be distributed on Friday.

Continue Reading » 12/9: Donovan on PGs, Walker, Harris, Kansas

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Florida Gators basketball’s 2013-14 schedule

Florida Gators basketball’s 2013-14 schedule was officially announced on Tuesday.

The Gators are set to face seven opponents who took part in the 2013 NCAA Tournament while also participating in three events – the Big 12/SEC Challenge, Jimmy V. Classic and Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

Florida will take on their permanent rival of Kentucky twice during the Southeastern Conference‘s 18-game schedule while also facing Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee twice each as part of the four-team annual rotation.

After opening the SEC slate at home, the Gators will play four of their next six games on the road before returning to Gainesville, FL, for a three-game homestand from Feb. 1-8. Florida then plays five of its next seven league games out of town before concluding the season with Senior Day against Kentucky on March 8.

UF will play three Super Tuesday games on ESPN and also be the visiting team when ESPN’s College GameDay rolls into Lexington, KY, on Feb. 15.

Florida will play three SEC contests on CBS, 16 total games on ESPN networks, two games on the syndicated SEC Network, two on FSN and one on CSS. Most of the non-conference game times and network affiliations have not yet been released.

Below is the official 2013-14 schedule with SEC games added:

Date/TimeGator BaitResult
11/8 at 3:00 pm (SUN)vs. North FloridaW 77-69
11/12 at 9:00pm (ESPN2)at WisconsinL 53-59
11/16 at 4:30 pm (SUN)vs. Ark-Little RockW 86-56
11/18 at 7:00 pm (SUN)vs. SouthernW 67-53
11/21 at 7:30 pm (SUN)vs. MTSUW 79-59
11/25 at 7:00 pm (FSF)at JacksonvilleW 86-60
11/29 at 7:30pm (ESPN2)vs. Florida StateW 67-66
12/2 at 7:00 pm (ESPN2)at UConnL 64-65
12/10 at 7:00 pm (ESPN)vs. KansasW 67-61
12/17 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)vs. Memphis (NY)W 77-75
12/21 at 4:30 pm (FSN)vs. Fresno St.W 66-49
12/29 at 3:00 pm (FSF)vs. Savannah St.W 76-34
1/4 at 3:00 pm (CSS)vs. RichmondW 67-58
1/8 at 7:00 pm (CSS)vs. South CarolinaW 74-58
1/11 at 1:00 pm (ESPN2)at ArkansasW(OT) 84-82
1/14 at 7:00 pm (ESPNU)vs. GeorgiaW 72-50
1/18 at 4:00 pm (SECN)at AuburnW 68-61
1/23 at 7:00 pm (ESPN2)at AlabamaW 68-62
1/25 at 4:00 pm (ESPN)vs. TennesseeW 67-41
1/30 at 7:00 pm (ESPN2)at Miss. StateW 62-51
2/1 at 4:00 pm (SECN)vs. Texas A&MW 69-36
2/4 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)vs. MissouriW 68-58
2/8 at 12:00 pm (ESPN)vs. AlabamaW 78-69
2/11 at 7:00 pm (ESPN)at TennesseeW 67-58
2/15 at 9:00 pm (ESPN)at KentuckyW 69-59
2/19 at 7:00 pm (FSN)vs. AuburnW 71-66
2/22 at 12:00 pm (CBS)at Ole MissW 75-71
2/25 at 7:00 pm (ESPN)at VanderbiltW 57-54
3/1 at 4:00 pm (CBS)vs. LSUW 79-61
3/4 at 7:00 pm (ESPNU)at South CarolinaW 72-46
3/8 at 12:00 pm (CBS)vs. KentuckyW 84-65
3/14 at 1:00 pm (ESPNU)vs. Missouri
SEC Tournament
W 72-49
3/15 at 1:00 pm (ABC)vs. Tennessee
SEC Tournament
W 56-49
3/16 at 3:15 pm (ESPN)vs. Kentucky
SEC Tournament
W 61-60
3/20 at 4:10 pm (TBS)vs. Albany
NCAA Tournament
W 67-55
3/21 at 12:15 pm (CBS)vs. Pittsburgh
NCAA Tournament
W 61-45
3/27 at 10:15 pm (CBS)vs. UCLA
NCAA Tournament
W 79-68
3/29 at 6:09 pm (TBS)vs. Dayton
NCAA Tournament
W 62-52
4/5 at 6:09 pm (TBS)vs. UConn
NCAA Tournament
L 53-63

SCHEDULE NOTES

» Ten teams each from the SEC and Big 12 will each compete in the Big 12/SEC Challenge from Nov. 14-Dec. 21. It is the first year of the event’s existence following the cancellation of the SEC/Big East Challenge (2007-12).
» The Gators are competing in the OBBC for the 13th time in the last 14 years.
» UF has Thursday-Saturday back-to-backs in consecutive weeks on Jan. 23-25 and Jan. 30-Feb. 1. Head coach Billy Donovan will not be pleased with that.
» Florida will play three games on CBS for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

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Florida basketball set to face Kansas, Memphis

Updated on May 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Florida Gators basketball’s 2013-14 non-conference schedule is taking shape after information was released this week about opponents for the upcoming season.

It has been confirmed that Florida will take on Kansas for the first time since 2006 as part of the inaugural SEC-Big 12 Challenge. KU will travel to Gainesville, FL on Dec. 10, 2013 for what is sure to be a fantastic showdown.

According to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, UF will also face Memphis at the 2013 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY on Dec. 17.

The UF website announced on Friday that the Gators will play a road game at Connecticut on Dec. 2. It is the first time the teams have squared off since 1994.

It has long been known that Florida will finish off a home-and-home series with a road game at Wisconsin, host Florida State and Richmond, participate in the 2013 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic (Sunrise, FL) against an unsigned opponent, and take part in a five-team round robin called the Global Sports Challenge that includes Arkansas Little-Rock, Middle Tennessee State, North Florida and Southern.

Below is the non-conference schedule as of press time:

Nov. 8 vs. North Florida
TBA at Wisconsin
Nov. 16 vs. Arkansas Little-Rock
Nov. 18 vs. Southern
Nov. 21 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Nov 25 at Jacksonville
Nov. 29 vs. Florida State
Dec. 2 at UConn
Dec. 10 vs. Kansas
Dec. 17 vs. Memphis (New York, NY)
Dec. 21 vs. TBA (Sunrise, FL)
Dec. 29 vs. Savannah State
Jan. 4 vs. Richmond

Florida will be adding additional games to its non-conference schedule in the near future, so stay tuned for updates.

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