Gameday: No. 24 Florida Gators at #11 Kansas Jayhawks – Donovan talks team, previews KU

By Adam Silverstein
December 5, 2014

Event: 2014 SEC-Big 12 Challenge
Location: Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kansas [Capacity: 16,300]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Jon Sciambi, Dick Vitale, Holly Rowe)
Streaming Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network Affiliates

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bill Self
Record: 3-3 Record: 5-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12

Odds: Florida +8 | O/U 125


» Florida is 2-3 all-time against Kansas (2-1 under Donovan), with the Gators beating the Jayhawks last year in their first SEC-Big 12 Challenge showdown. This will be just the second time that UF and KU will square off in Allen Fieldhouse (1994).
» Donovan is 5-5 at Florida against Big 12 teams, and the Gators are 19-13 versus teams in that conference all-time.
» UF has used five starting lineups in six regular-season games this year.
» The Gators are looking for their 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins is the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14+ consecutive seasons.
» Florida learned to win close games last season, going 14-2 in contests decided by single digits; the Gators are 2-2 in such affairs this season.
» Two weeks ago, Miami snapped Florida’s program-record 33-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 11, 2012, and was the second-longest in the nation. The Canes also broke the Gators’ school-record 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, which dated back to Dec. 22, 2010.
» Florida is still on program-record 18-game winning streaks against SEC opponents overall (since Jan. 8, 2014) and at home (since Jan. 9, 2014). UF has also won a school-record nine-in-a-row over SEC opponents on the road (since Jan. 11, 2014).
» In addition to the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, the Gators have already competed in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament and will also play in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season.


» Active (1): Redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith (hand)
» Out (4): Redshirt junior guard Eli Carter (foot), redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy (transfer – fall semester), sophomore center John Egbunu (transfer – season), freshman guard Brandone Francis (academics – season)

Florida announced Friday afternoon that Carter is not only out of Friday’s game, he did not travel with the Gators to Kansas in order to continue rehabilitation treatment in Gainesville.

“I’ve met with Eli, I’ve talked to him, and he does not feel right now with his foot that he can get through a practice,” Donovan said on Wednesday. “If you can’t get through a practice, it’s awful hard to play. He’s getting foot specialists, treatments and all this different stuff they’re doing – everything they can possibly do for him – and when he can get back, he can get back. But there’s not gonna be an underlying current of trying to come on, come on, come on. We’ve gotta go get Lawrence with the guys that are healthiest and the best.”

Donovan also provided an update Wednesday on Finney-Smith’s health.

“Dorian missed practice on Monday because of swelling and just significant soreness in his hand, so we rested him on Monday, we rested him Tuesday. He’s gonna do some [work Wednesday] contact-wise, but his minutes will probably be taken away. He’s got no leg issues, he’s got no wind issues, he’s got nothing – it’s just his hand and sometimes that constant pounding, it’s something that he’s gotta deal with. And listen, he’s been a highly-competitive kid and wanting to be out there playing, and part of my heart goes out for him because he’s not healthy – he is playing with two broken bones in his hand and it’s been challenging, it’s been difficult for him – but I think he’s trying to do the best that he can.”


» Donovan on Florida’s poor offensive play: “An area where we were not very good at all was on the break. Our conversation rate when we had numbers was not very good. I don’t think there’s any question that’s an area we got to improve on. When we get numbers, we got to try to convert — especially at the rim. I thought that really in all the games [in the Bahamas] we had some bad possessions, but for the most part we got good shots. I think guys have got to be able to play through misses. They’ve got to be able to play through whatever is going on right now in their mind. … Another thing we’ve tried to examine and look at is what kind of shots are we getting? I do think that an area where our guys can get better, I don’t think we’re giving great reps. We’re not disciplined enough, especially shooting the basketball. We’ve got guys that don’t follow through, they’re are off-balance, legs aren’t under them, ball beats their feet, feet aren’t set. And they’re open, they’re open but they’re not really ready to shoot. So those are some areas of focus and things we’ve talked about in terms of being shot-ready and those kinds of things.”

» Donovan on Kansas: “They’ve got, in my opinion, really a complete team. They certainly got a terrific front court and some very, very good backcourt players. They’re a team probably like most teams that will continue to get better. Their talent level is extremely high. They’re learning and growing as they go as well. If you look at their pieces, front court and perimeter, I think that they have it all.”

» Donovan on what is and is not working offensively: “We’re getting really, really good ball movement, we’re getting player movement, the floor is being spaced, we’re getting in the lane, we’re dishing it. We’ve been pretty balanced from the free throw line even though we don’t have a lock-up, post-up guy. We’ve gotten fouled. We’re not getting killed on the backboard, I was concerned about our size and our depth up front. We’ve managed at least to hold ground on the backboard, but it’s like anything else, when you come in with an expectation and the expectation is not being met, it bleeds into frustration, disappointment, upset, anger, bitterness and what happens is you never go into a season factoring in adversity and that’s all I talked about this off-season, was trying to help them understand the adversity. You know, how they’re going to handle the adversity.”


The SEC enters Friday with a 1-4 record in this season’s challenge. The league will need to go 4-1 in the remaining games in order to win the four-day event.

Wednesday, December 3
Auburn 44 at Texas Tech 46

Thursday, December 4
Arkansas 77 at Iowa State 95
Baylor 66 at Vanderbilt 63
LSU 74 at West Virginia 73
TCU 66 at Ole Miss 54

Friday, December 5
Florida at Kansas
Missouri at Oklahoma
Texas at Kentucky

Saturday, December 6
Kansas State at Tennessee
Oklahoma State at South Carolina

One Comment

  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Go Gators! This is starting to get to be must-win time, we really need to get some quality non-conference wins on the resume. I really hope they have figured out some of their offensive issues In the past week!

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