Gators preparing for next test
Since last taking the court — a 72-47 dismantling of Florida State on Dec. 5 — the Florida Gators have had a busy schedule.
However, little of it has been spent actually working on basketball.
With exam week occurring at the University of Florida, the fifth-ranked Gators (7-0) have been focused more on academics than basketball in the recent days.
That, coach Billy Donovan said, is why it is critical his team prepares properly for a matchup with No. 8 Arizona (7-0) on Saturday night.
“I wish we could have maybe capitalized a little bit more on this time we had off, but I’m not so sure there was any other way that we could do it other than cutting their academic time, and I just didn’t feel like that was right for those guys,” Donovan said.
“They have enough that they have to do that is more important right now than practice.”
Following the team’s win in Tallahassee last Wednesday, players began having exams the following Saturday and throughout this past week. On Monday, every player had an exam at some point, essentially eliminating any opportunity for the team to get work in.
Because of the inconsistent practice schedule, Donovan admits his team has maybe lost a step since winning its first seven games. It’s an issue every team in college basketball faces at this time of year, he said.
“When you get limited practice time because they have academics, there’s always going to be those things that are pulling at those guys,” Donovan said. “So what we have tried to do — at least here early in the week — is make sure that our guys have enough time to prepare and do well academically and finish the semester strong.”
With exams mostly over, it is now back to work.
Donovan said he expected a full practice Wednesday night, followed by another heavy day of work on Thursday. The Gators will leave for Arizona on Friday and have a normal walk through and shootaround Friday.
Though exam week is over, the tests aren’t quite finished.
Arizona will be the biggest challenge Florida has faced thus far this season, which is all the more reason the Gators must regain focus after the time off.
“With finals and everything, we have had some lighter days,” senior forward Erik Murphy said. “We’ve got to really come out and practice well and get prepared for this next game.”
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2014 Football Commits
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