Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

The last time the Florida Gators played the Tennessee Vols, the Vols were dead last in the SEC in three-point shooting but best in the league in rebounding. Logic said back off the three and pack the paint, which is exactly what Billy Donovan did. The only problem is the Vols picked that night to shoot the ball better from the perimeter than they had all season.

Nothing Tennessee had done all season long would indicate that the Vols were capable of a game like that. Tennessee hit eight three-point shots in the first half and 12-28 for the game (42.8 percent) and that was the difference as the Vols scored a 79-63 win.

The Gators face the same dilemma Sunday afternoon when they face Tennessee at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (2 p.m., CBS) in a nationally televised game that could have serious implications on where both these teams play their post season basketball. Do the Gators pack it in the paint to limit the Vols bigger, more physical front line or do they try to clamp down on the perimeter?

There was no question what Donovan was going to do when the two teams squared off back on January 31 in Knoxville.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.