A smattering of Gator fans showed up in Dallas on Friday. By far and away, Kentucky is the best-represented fan base early on the weekend of the Final Four, but of course Kentucky is considered a basketball school over and above anything else.
It’s been a running joke for a while for Gators fans that they’re actually a basketball school these days, particularly after the 2013 football campaign. You could say Billy Donovan has single-handedly brought Florida basketball to prominence and at least during basketball season, many fans in orange and blue do consider Florida a basketball school.
Donovan says whatever people want to think is fine. He’ll do his job the same way regardless.
“If football season is going on, that doesn't have any impact on me and what I'm doing,” the Gators head coach said from the Final Four in Dallas.” I'm going to do the same thing whether it's at Florida or somewhere else. I'm going to try to be locked in to figure out how can we get better in the weight room, individual instruction, coaching, what do we need to do.”
It’s been well documented that Florida’s last loss was against UConn on the road four months ago. And that their second game of the year against Wisconsin was their only other loss of the season. Even at the time, a lot of people were scratching their heads about having those games on the schedule in the first place.
Billy says those games serve a specific purpose.
“That early in the season, we're all trying to get to know our team better, to see how we respond against high level competition. You're also trying to get somewhat prepared for your league play because you know you're going to go into some difficult places to play.
So for us those two early road games at UConn, at Wisconsin, I thought they were really helpful to our team moving forward and in terms of where we needed to improve and get better.”
It must have worked because the Gators haven’t lost since their game at UConn, but more importantly, they have gotten healthier and better as the season has gone on.
“I think UConn is playing their best basketball of the year,” Scottie Wilbekin said at the podium. “And so are we.”
In the last few years the NCAA has dropped a basketball court in the middle of a football stadium to host their national championship. It takes some getting used to for the players to find the rim in a cavernous arena. Teams used to have just one shoot around, now they’re allowed full-blown practices on the game court.
Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.