Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schedules Contrast for Gators, Seminoles; Florida Busy Lately; FSU Returns to Action after Six Days Off

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schedules Contrast for Gators, Seminoles; Florida Busy Lately; FSU Returns to Action after Six Days Off

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

The University of Florida and Florida State are both on the road Saturday, but if there's a team with the potential for some fatigue, the Gators are the obvious candidate.

Fifteenth-ranked UF (21-5, 11-2 SEC) is playing its sixth game in 16 days at Mississippi State (14-11, 5-8), and it's only the second time in that span that the Gators are operating on as much as four days' rest.

Of course, the Gators have looked anything but tired. They're on a seven-game winning streak and routed Auburn on Tuesday, 114-95, setting a school record for points in an SEC game. During their streak, UF has won by an average margin of 24 points and has averaged 89.7 points.

Contrast that with 17th-ranked FSU (21-5, 9-4 ACC), which has had six days off before playing at Pittsburgh (14-12, 3-10) and is playing its fifth game in 17 days. The Seminoles lost at Notre Dame 84-72 last Saturday and are 2-4 on the road in the ACC.

The scheduling quirk will right itself in March when UF gets its first five-day rest since the time between its first two SEC games of the season. The Gators play at Kentucky on Feb. 25 and don't play again until March 1 at home against Arkansas.

Florida State's game on Saturday kicks off a streak of four games in 10 days, including trips to Clemson on Feb. 25 and Duke on Feb. 28.

The Gators' depth also is depleted with the loss of center John Egbunu to a knee injury against Auburn and third-string center Gorjak Gak to a sprained ankle the day before in practice. UF will dress 10 players against the Bulldogs,and only two are true low-post players, sophomore Kevarrius Hayes and senior Schuyler Rimmer. Forwards Justin Leon and Keith Stone got practice reps at center, and coach Mike White has the option of using a smaller lineup with swing man Canyon Barry and backup point guard Chris Chiozza taking on more of a load.

What would help is if Hayes manages to find a way to play good defense, rebound and stay out of foul trouble at the same time.

"Guys need to step up ... that's our only choice," White said Friday during a news conference. "Kevarrius has to be really solid. He's got to be intelligent with his physicality, and Rimmer's got to be ready. …

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