Florida opponent previews – Tennessee and LSU

By Mike Brandes – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Coming off a tough showdown on the road at Alabama, the Florida Gators will have a bye week before entering Knoxville, Tennessee, and the not-so-friendly confines of Neylend Stadium when it squares off against the Tennessee Volunteers.

Florida will be facing Tennessee for the 44th time in program history, looking to extend its series winning streak to 10-straight games dating back to 2005.

The Volunteers are looking to find some momentum in the second year under head coach Butch Jones, the program’s third coach in five seasons. Under Jones, Tennessee upset then-No. 11 South Carolina 23-21 last season, one of its few highlights of the 2013 campaign. The Vols also lost four-straight games, however, with blowout losses to Alabama, Missouri and Auburn as well as a close defeat at the hands of Vanderbilt.

Head-to-Head

FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp (Year: 4) Head Coach: Butch Jones (Year: 2)
2013 Record: 4-8 (3-5) 2013 Record: 5-7 (2-6)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Common Opponents: 1-4 Common Opponents: 2-3
Scoring Offense: T-112th (18.8 ppg) Scoring Offense: 94th (23.8 ppg)
Scoring Defense: 15th (21.1 ppg) Scoring Defense: T-78th (29.0 ppg)

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Florida Gators baseball wins 2014 SEC regular-season title, earns No. 1 seed in SEC Tournament

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

No. 13 Florida Gators baseball (37-19, 21-9 SEC) took care of business against the Tennessee Volunteers (31-22, 12-18 SEC), ending the regular season as Southeastern Conference champions and with the top seed in the league’s upcoming tournament due in large part to a 2-1 series victory.

Florida’s 6-5 win in the series opener on Thursday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, locked up the SEC East for the Gators and guaranteed the team at least a share of the conference regular-season crown, which UF locked up outright with a 4-2 victory in game two on Friday.

The 2014 SEC title is the 13th for Florida baseball, third under current Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan (2010, 2011). He is now tied with Dave Fuller (1948-1975) for the most SEC titles among Florida skippers.

UF also secured the No. 1 overall seed in next week’s 2014 SEC Tournament. Playing in the bottom bracket, Florida will receive a bye before taking on either No. 8 Alabama or No. 9 Kentucky on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The double-elimination tournament will be played in Hoover, Alabama, and be aired across a number of different stations.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators baseball wins 2014 SEC regular-season title, earns No. 1 seed in SEC Tournament

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Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament – Georgia Dome: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA [Capacity: 26,000]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ABC (Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(1) FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Record: 30-2 Record: 21-11
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U: 125

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title earned the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament, earning two byes and playing its first game Friday in quarterfinal action. The championship is the program’s second-straight title, third in the last four seasons, seventh overall and fifth outright.
» The Volunteers advanced to the semifinals after pulling off a 59-44 victory over South Carolina on Friday.
» UF is 39-45 all-time in the SEC Tournament with a 24-14 record under Donovan and three-straight SEC Tournament Championships from 2005-07.
» Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 18-18, but the Gators are 18-18 against the Vols since Donovan took over. UT is also 4-3 against UF in SEC Tournament action, but Donovan helped Florida win its last such game against Tennessee in 2011.
» The Gators swept the regular-season series agains the Volunteers, defeating their Saturday opponent 67-41 at home on Jan. 25 and 67-58 on the road on Feb. 11.
» UF enters Saturday’s regular-season finale on a program-record 24-game winning streak and at 18-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 29 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single regular season. Florida has won 29 of its last 30 games.
» The Gators are the first team in SEC history to go 18-0 in league play. UF is also the first team from a major conference, since Indiana in 1976, to go 18-0 in league play.
» Florida has gone two-straight seasons without losing at home, holding a 32-0 record since the start of the 2012-13 campaign (17-0 in conference games).
» The Gators have won nine-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» Florida is 81-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 11-2 in true road games this campaign with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. Florida lost those contests by a combined seven points. UF is also 3-0 in neutral-site games this campaign.
» 2013-14 was the first time that Florida has ended the regular season ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Gators have achieved a No. 1 ranking in four separate seasons and currently hold a 20-5 record playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida’s senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.

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The Fastbreak: No. 3 Gators topple Vols 67-58

No. 3 Florida Gators basketball (22-2, 11-0 SEC) pulled away late in the second half on Tuesday evening to oust the Tennessee Volunteers (16-9, 6-5 SEC) on their home court and pick up a 67-58 win at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN.

The Gators won their 16th-straight game and picked up a victory for the 21st time in their last 22 contests. Florida has also started the season 11-0 in league play and put together the second-best start to a campaign in program history (24-2, 2006-07).

OnlyGators.com breaks it down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when… / Perfect play: Florida senior center Patric Young, chasing down an offensive rebound with his team holding a late six-point lead, laid his entire body out as he dove for the ball, snatching it away from two Tennessee players and tossing it to a teammate before sliding out of bounds. The effort resulted in two free throws for UF, which ultimately held on for the victory. Young only scored six points and eventually fouled out of the game, but five of his six boards came from the offensive glass.

“It was an incredible play, I thought, by him. He sold out,” explained head coach Billy Donovan after the game. “Two guys were in front of him; he ran past [them] and made an incredible save and helped us come with the loose basketball. Really it was an incredible play by him, effort-wise, in the game with four fouls.”

Prominent player: Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin struggled with his shot throughout the game (as well as his decision-making at times) but ultimately led Florida with a career-high 21 points. He made 10-of-12 free throws – going 5-for-6 over the final 51 seconds of the contest – and also contributed six assists and four steals.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » The Fastbreak: No. 3 Gators topple Vols 67-58

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Gameday: No. 3 Florida Gators at Tennessee

Location: Thompson-Boling Arena – Knoxville, TN [Capacity: 21,678]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(3) FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Record: 21-2 (10-0 SEC) Record: 15-8 (6-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -2 | O/U: 128

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Tennessee leads Florida 72-53 in the all-time series with the Gators just 17-18 against the Vols under Donovan. UF is 16-44 at UT and 5-12 in series road games coached by Donovan having not won in Knoxville since Jan. 11, 2011. Tennessee has also won seven of the last eight games against Florida in its home arena.
» Martin is 3-1 against Donovan since taking over the Vols.
» An unranked UT team is hoping to knock off a ranked UF squad for the 12th time.
» Florida and Tennessee are squaring off for the second time this season after the Gators earned a dominant 67-51 victory over the Volunteers in Gainesville, FL two weeks ago on Jan. 25 to break a three-game losing streak to their SEC East rivals.
» UF is currently riding a school-record 29-game home winning streak (second-longest in the nation). Florida extended a program record Saturday by recording its 15th consecutive home win against league opponents.
» The Gators have opened league play with a 10-0 record for just the second time under Donovan. The school record for best SEC start is 11-0, set in 2007.
» Florida is on a 15-game winning streak and has won 20 of its last 21 games.
» The Gators are 73-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF has started 21-2 through 23 games for the second time in school history. The first time the Gators achieved that mark, they won the national title (2006-07). In 2005-06, UF opened the season 20-2.
» Florida is 9-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 5-2 in true road games this season.

Read the rest of the Florida-Tennessee preview…after the break!

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Donovan on injuries, senior leaders, Walker

No. 3 Florida Gators basketball (21-2, 10-0 SEC) is already in Knoxville, TN getting prepared to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (15-8, 6-4 SEC) on Tuesday evening. Before the team left, Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to discuss the upcoming contest and difficult road ahead.

INJURY UPDATE

Senior forward Casey Prather continues to rehabilitate from an ankle injury he suffered a few weeks ago, but it has not stopped him from playing or participating in practice (though he has missed a couple over the last few weeks).

Donovan said Monday that Prather did not practice on Sunday because the “trainer wanted to give him an extra day of rest.” However, the expectation was that Prather would return to the court before Florida left for Tennessee later in the evening.

After scoring in double digits for the first 18 games he played this season, Prather failed to do so in consecutive contests to star the month of February (he was on the court for 21 minutes in each game). That was not the case on Saturday when Prather appeared to be back to his normal self, seeing 33 minutes of action and posting 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting with six boards and three assists.

LEADERSHIP WILL PROVE KEY

With four of Florida’s next five games on the road and each of thoses contest posing a threat to the Gators’ strong Southeastern Conference record, Donovan said he has done what he could to prepare his squad for the difficult sledding ahead.

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The Fastbreak: No. 6 Gators blast Vols 67-41

The No. 6 Florida Gators (17-2, 6-0 SEC) blew out the Tennessee Volunteers (12-7, 3-3 SEC) on Saturday afternoon, snapping a three-game losing skid to their rivals while rolling to a 67-41 victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Florida won its 26th-straight home game (second-longest streak in the nation) and 12th in a row against a Southeastern Conference opponent, defeating Tennessee for the first time in nearly three full years (March 11, 2011).

The Gators won their 11th-straight game and picked up a win for the 16th time in their last 17 contests. OnlyGators.com breaks it down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: With 10:49 remaining, Tennessee fouled Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, putting the Gators in the bonus for the remainder of the contest. UF extended its lead to 23 points after Frazier’s two made free throws and went up a game-high 32 before the final buzzer sounded.

Prominent players: Frazier and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin both made the difference for Florida on Saturday, leading their team in scoring with 17 and 13 points, respectively. Both players were sparks for major runs that helped create and extend the Gators’ big advantage (see below) while playing with level heads throughout the contest. Frazier was more effective driving to the hoop than usual with one of his moves into the lane creating a great play for a teammate (see below).

“A couple times today he did a good job of attacking and not just shooting, which we know he does very well. He did a good job attacking and finding people,” said Wilbekin about Frazier. Added Frazier: “Coach told me that I can use my shot fake to make plays for my teammates. Any time I can do that is a good thing for out team. … I don’t want to be a one-dimensional guy because then teams can take me out of the game.”

Significant stretch: The Gators outscored the Vols 16-4 to open the second half with Frazier burying two threes to help put UF up 19 points with 13 minutes remaining. UT was simply never able to recover…or even keep it that close.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » The Fastbreak: No. 6 Gators blast Vols 67-41

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Gameday: No. 6 Florida Gators vs. Tennessee

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Jimmy Dykes)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(6) FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Record: 16-2 (5-0 SEC) Record: 12-6 (3-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -8.5 | O/U: 129

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Tennessee leads Florida 72-52 in the all-time series, and the Gators are just 16-18 against the Vols under Donovan. However, UF is 32-24 against UT at home, 10-6 in games coached by Donovan.
» Florida is looking to break a three-game losing streak to Tennessee; Martin is 3-0 against Donovan since taking over the Vols.
» Saturday marks Donovan’s 600th game at UF.
» The Gators are on a 10 -game winning streak and have won 15 of its last 16 games.
» Florida is currently riding a school-record 25-game home winning streak (third longest in the nation) with 11 wins in a row against SEC opponents in the O’Dome.
» Saturday marks the first of consecutive Thursday-Saturday turnarounds for the Gators. UF’s senior class is 9-1 overall in its last five Thursday-Saturday situations having swept four-straight instances when playing two games in that three-day period.
» Florida is 8-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 68-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» An unranked UT team is hoping to knock off a ranked UF squad for the 12th time.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» UF has used seven different starting lineups in 18 games.
» Florida’s four seniors reached the 100 career wins on Thursday. That benchmark has only been reached by 11 other players in school history.

Read the rest of the Florida-Tennessee preview…after the break!

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