Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What a Stretch for UF; Game at Vanderbilt Is First of Four Rough Road Tests for No. 10 Gators

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What a Stretch for UF; Game at Vanderbilt Is First of Four Rough Road Tests for No. 10 Gators

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE -- Whether the Florida men's basketball team will start the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville depends on how well the Gators handle their final six Southeastern Conference games.

No. 10 Florida (21-3, 7-3 SEC) visits Vanderbilt (13-8, 4-6) tonight, beginning a stretch in which the Gators will face teams with a combined 76-35 record (30-20 SEC). Four of those games (Vandy, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky) are on the road, where two of the Gators' three losses have come.

Anything less than a .500 record could deny Florida a spot at Veterans Memorial Arena for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

"That [playing in Jacksonville] would make it that much easier to advance to the next round," Gators junior forward Chris Richard said. "It'd be like home-court advantage for us, so if we can try to win out or do the best we can so we can get to Jacksonville, it'll make it that much easier for us in the tournament.

"If we can finish strong, rally together and play like we're capable of playing, we can maybe win the whole SEC and then go on and win the whole tournament."

Florida has won four of its past five games at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium but is just 2-5 at Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena. The Gators are 2-8 in their past 10 games at Alabama and have only won six times in 48 trips to Kentucky.

UF coach Billy Donovan is standing by that old cliche of one game at a time.

"I think every stretch in a season concerns you," he said. "The way our schedule works out is probably a little more of a disadvantage for our team because we are playing four of the last six games on the road. That is challenging.

"The only thing I am worried about right now is Vanderbilt. To me, that is the only game we have, and it's the only thing we need to worry about."

Florida beat Vanderbilt 81-58 on Jan. 28 in Gainesville after one of the most unusual halves of basketball this season. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.