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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Florida coach Billy Donovan says KU ‘ceiling’ may be highest in country

Kansas players and head coach Bill Self huddle together in the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Kansas players and head coach Bill Self huddle together in the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

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Florida 67, Kansas 61

Box score

— The number of areas in which Florida’s basketball team outdid visiting Kansas University during a 67-61 UF victory on Tuesday at the O’Connell Center reached double digits.

But few told the story or made the difference as much as the experience of Florida’s guards against the youth of the Jayhawks, who fell to 6-3 and dropped their third game in the four tries.

On a night in which KU started four freshman for the first time in school history, Florida coach Billy Donovan found comfort in a starting lineup that included four tried-and-true seniors who combined to score 43 points and rip down 20 rebounds. Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin (18 points) and senior forward Casey Prather (12 points, eight rebounds) paved the way on the perimeter, and Florida’s big men dominated inside to set the tone for what proved to be a long night for the young Jayhawks, who were led by freshman Andrew Wiggins’ 26-point effort.

“Guys like Wilbekin, Prather, those guys have been hardened,” Donovan said. “They’ve been scarred a little bit. How much adversity has Wiggins ever faced on the court? Those guys are gonna have to learn different things, and there’s a process they have to go through.”

Part of that process includes learning how to play together, overcome adversity and adjusting to the speed, intensity and every-day grind of college basketball. Each of those elements — and likely several more — figure to jump off the screen when the Jayhawks re-watch this one in the film room in Lawrence. But Donovan, whose Gators improved to 7-2 and won their 21st consecutive home game, said he did not believe the Jayhawks would find anything to be alarmed about.

“Listen, Bill is going to have a really, really good team,” Donovan said. “It’s obviously early. When you look at 6-3 and think, ‘Oh my god,’ the reality of it is, I get excited when coaching a team with a huge ceiling, and there may not be another team in the country that has as good of a ceiling as they do.”

Donovan’s praise of KU’s pups did not stop there.

“The thing that impressed me about the freshmen,” he continued, “watching them on tape and watching them here tonight, their poise, their attitude, their disposition, they don’t get frustrated, they don’t get mad, they don’t point fingers. They handle themselves very, very well.”

Those traits and what the Gators did to overcome them might have been an indication of just how well Florida played Tuesday. Kansas coughed it up a season-high 24 times, and Florida maintained a double-digit lead for much of the game despite shooting just 37 percent from the field.

Most of the reason for that came from the Gators’ defense, which held KU scoreless for an eight-minute stretch of the first half and sparked a 21-0 UF run that proved to be too much for Kansas to overcome.

“Our zone was good,” said Donovan, noting that he tried to throw as many defenses as he could at KU and relished the results of the 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones. “I think the difference in the game was, we forced a lot of turnovers tonight. With (Frank) Mason and (Naadir) Tharpe, they’re not big guards, and I thought it was difficult for them to throw over and around our guys. Our length, I think, caused some issues for them.”

Comments

Preston Dwiggins 4 months, 1 week ago

Naadir doesn't look like he's too interested in what Tarik is saying in the above picture. It appears as if Tarik is trying to step up and lead...in which case, I dig!

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Dickless Head 4 months, 1 week ago

Carolyn are you in kansas? I will look your name up online and get your home address and cell. I would like to come over for drinks and maybe have sex. I am in the process of meetings Suzi Marshall from this site who is a blonde with a tight little package, but its nothing exclusive.

Now I wanna be upfront and put all the cards on the table so there are no surprises when we hook up. I dont want to scare you but I just got out of prison a couple of months ago. Now dont freak out baby but I was convicted of rape but I didnt do it. I went over to a girls house that I met on the kcstar message board and I got her home address cuz they show real names there too. Anyway she invited me over so I went over and we ended up hitting it off and I spent the night and we slept together. Now she told the police that I was stalking her and that she didnt invite me over.but thats a lie. What happened is I came inside her a couple of times that night and she was pissed because she told me to pull out. I admit that and thats my bad. But thats why she called the cops on me and said I raped her. Anyway she ended up getting preggo and ahe wont even let me the girl which really upsets me. I just wanted to lay that all out so there was no surprises. I will get your address online and maybe I could come this weekend for the ku game? Anyway xoxo

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Alex Berger 4 months, 1 week ago

A positive that Donovan talks about is the poise of our freshmen. They aren't pouting or pointing fingers are each other and that seems to speak volumes about how they view their individual responsibilities.

If Wiggins starts to find his stroke from three he is going to suddenly open up his offensive game and open up shots for others. Getting extra practice time for our guys to figure out how to make quick, accurate passes will help a ton.

I'm glad our weakness for zone defense is getting exposed now instead of in March because it will give us a few months to improve. Teams will not do as well against us man-to-man. We have too many slashers (Selden, Wigs, Mason) and good post shooters (Ellis, Embiid).

If Greene can keep finding a way onto the court we will be able to use his three point shooting. Greene, Frankamp, and White just have to work on defense and not turning the ball over. Once they start getting more consistent there they will be able to get used to consistently shooting 3s in real college games.

I'm still excited for our team. That 2nd half showed that our guys want to win and have the skill to take over games. They just need to be able to turn that switch on more consistently and keep it on.

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