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March 15, 2014

Gator Gameday: Florida vs. Tennessee

GAME DAY LINKS: Instant Analysis: Florida 72, Missouri 49 | UF-UT Game Day Thread

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Tennessee
Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 1:00 p.m. EST
TV: ABC / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network
Tennessee Volunteers (21-11)
Streak: Won 5
Last Game: Defeated No. 13 South Carolina 59-44
G Antonio Barton (doesn't crack SEC top-10 in assist-turnover ratio) Sr. 6-2 180
G Jordan McRae (fourth in the SEC averaging 18.8 PPG) Sr. 6-6 185
G Josh Richardson (only attempted four shots in Friday defeat of South Carolina) Jr. 6-6 190
F Jeronne Maymon (averaging 10.2 PPG and 8.3 RPG on the season) Sr. 6-8 260
F Jarnell Stokes (first-team All-SEC selection had 22 points, 15 rebounds in quarterfinals) Jr. 6-8 260

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (30-2)
Streak: Won 24
Last Game: Defeated No. 8 Missouri 72-49
G Scottie Wilbekin (scored all of his 15 points off 3s against Missouri) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (scored 28 points in two regular season meetings with Vols) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (struggled finishing, going 1 for 6 from the field Friday) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (grabbed nine rebounds in two regular season games against Tennessee) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (1 for 6 from the free-throw line Friday) Sr. 6-9 240

Keep the hot streak going

Unlike previous years, Florida has been able to avoid defining itself as a 3-point shooting team this season. A lot of that has to do with personnel and the fact there is only one player on the roster viewed as a 3-point specialist. Then again, it might be time to reconsider that. Florida is shooting 58.3 percent (21-36) from beyond the arc in its last two games. With Tennessee being as formidable as it is in the frontcourt, that could certainly come into play.
Not broke, don't fix it

Florida is looking to go 3-0 against Tennessee this season and the reason it won the first two is the way it handled Maymon and Stokes in the frontcourt. How much respect do the Gators have for the duo? Young said Tuesday he had no problem with Stokes being named first-team All-SEC over him because "I would have voted for him." Tennessee's backcourt can get hot but it's Stokes who makes the ship run. He averages a double-double, and the Gators have attacked he and his sidekick with traps down low and a focus on taking them out of the game. They've still had their moments, but the two have combined for 30 attempted shots in two games against Florida. That number is lower than the Volunteers would like.
Get back on track at the charity stripe

Games between Florida and Tennessee can take on the life of a wrestling match at times. There is a certain level of physicality that must be matched and with that comes fouls -- 71 fouls and 66 free throws in the first two games, to be exact. The Gators won at Thompson-Boling in large part because they went 17 for 22 from the free-throw line. Friday was a struggle in that department, as Florida went 10 for 20 including 1 for 6 for Young, who will almost certainly be making repeat trips to the line today.

Billy Donovan on adjustments made against Missouri:

"we have got a group that is pretty cerebral. You can talk about things that we need to change or adjust and they're pretty good at doing that. At least from a coaching perspective, I feel like I've got a lot of leeway and I can do a lot of different things with them because they're pretty bright. They have got a good feel. They understand our system. So when I talk about changing and tweaks, they're actually pretty good at doing those things. I don't know how you rank which teams that I've coached have been the best, but this team is very good at it. "
Donovan on 30 wins:

"It's hard to win 30 games. So I think with what these guys have done, at least up to this point in time in the regular season, was truly special. But now we're in a different part of our season, being post‑season play. But I think for any team to win 30 games it's very difficult."

Florida 72-58: As they have the past few games, the Gators showed Friday how dangerous they can be with their lethal combination of sneaky good offense and stifling full-court pressure. Florida's quick-strike ability is dizzying because of that combination and turned a sleep-walk narrow victory into a blowout over the course of about six minutes against Missouri. Tennessee is ultra-talented, playing well and might be the worst matchup for the Gators in this tournament. But until Florida shows otherwise, there is no reason to believe the Gators will not process the Vols like they have done to everyone else.

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