Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

In case you didn’t pay attention Sunday, the Gators took Vanderbilt out with a full court press that resembled the one Billy Donovan used to run folks into the ground his first few years at Florida. That was vintage Billy Ball that we saw with heavy duty pressing and pushing the ball up the court at every opportunity. For the Gators (18-3, 5-1 SEC) to keep on winning in the SEC, they are going to have to push the tempo. In an open court game, Florida has a chance to win every game. In a half court game, the Gators’ chances will go the way of the whistle, which means if the pace is slow, opponents have a chance to take Marreese Speights out of the game.

Against Vandy, the Gators made the Commodores use up nearly 10 seconds just getting the ball across midcourt on every possession and the pressure didn’t end there. The Gators kept harassing and trapping in the backcourt and that had everything to do with why Shan Foster hardly touched the ball. The shot clock was usually somewhere around 17-18 seconds when Vandy finally got into its offense, under 10 before they had a chance to launch a shot.

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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.