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January 8, 2014

Hoops Gator Gameday: Florida vs. South Carolina

GAME DAY LINKS: Notebook: Gators focused on more than streak | UF-SC Game Day Thread

South Carolina at No. 10 Florida
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: CSS/Cox Sports / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network, Sirius/XM 110
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-6, 0-0 Southeastern Conference)
Streak: Won 4
Last Game: Defeated South Carolina State 82-75
G Brenton Williams (leads USC in scoring and made 3-pointers with 11.2 PPG) Sr. 5-11 172
G Duane Notice (former teammate of NBA No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett) Fr. 6-2 221
G Sindarius Thornwell (averaging double figures and 3.5 RPG) Fr. 6-5 206
F Mindaugas Kacinas (team leader in rebounds also has 10 steals) So. 6-7 210
F Demetrius Henry (No. 100 overall prospect in 2013 class) Fr.. 6-9 215

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (11-2, 0-0 SEC)
Streak: Won 5
Last Game: Defeated Richmond 67-58
G Scottie Wilbekin (nine assists, six turnovers in last four games) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (SEC leader in 3-point shooting at 49.3 percent) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (has scored at least 10 points in every game this season) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (21 rebounds and eight shot attempts in last three games) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (15 points and six rebounds in each of last two games) Sr. 6-9 240

Utilize size

Florida has a consistent and veteran inside presence that South Carolina doesn't have much of an answer for. The Gators need to establish that presence early by working the ball in to Patric Young and giving Casey Prather and Dorian Finney-Smith the green light to drive the lane. The Gamecocks are inexperienced at best and vulnerable at worst in the paint.
Derail South Carolina mentally

With only one player who is not a freshman or sophomore in their starting lineup, the Gamecocks are playing their first road game since Dec. 6. The Gators' defense has been capable of forcing long scoreless stretches out of opponents, knocking initial game plans out of whack and burying younger players beneath O'Dome crowd noise. South Carolina is a perfect candidate to get caught up in such a moment.
Remain focused

After a surprising close call against Richmond Saturday, Donovan and his players admitted focus and intensity was simply not there for the Gators. Tonight marks the start of the SEC play and Florida's effort to repeat as regular-season conference champions. In other words, there is no excuse for a veteran UF team to not be up for this game as well as the 17 regular season tilts that follow it.

Billy Donovan on South Carolina:

"They have a lot of new faces, a lot of new personnel. I think they have some very good young players that, like anything else, when you're playing a lot of freshmen and younger guys, there are going to be some growing pains and some ups and downs. That's going to be a part of their development and growth. I think the team that people remember from South Carolina last year is totally different than this year's team and the number one difference is maybe not style of play but it's their personnel."
Michael Frazier II on going for a school record-tying 24th straight home win:

"We're just taking it game by game. We don't really look at things like that. We're just trying to focus on the next play, the next team, the next possession. We don't try to get too far ahead of ourselves, but obviously that's a great accomplishment."

Florida 72-45: South Carolina shouldn't be much of a challenge for Florida during a season in which it has dropped games to teams like Manhattan and South Carolina Upstate. Frank Martin has worked to turn the Gamecocks around, but he fighting a serious uphill battle that has been further damaged by attrition and a lack of a consistent identity.

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