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Gators are focused on the Bulldogs.


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At the start of the season when you started figuring out just how the Gators would get to nine or 10 SEC wins, a sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs was probably part of the calculation. While that still remains a possibility it’s far from a certainty. In fact, based on what’s happened to this point any win over Georgia will be tough to get.

The Bulldogs have been surprisingly good under first year Coach Mark Fox. No, their 9-8 overall record is not particularly impressive, nor is their 1-3 mark in SEC play. But Florida coach Billy Donovan knows those numbers are more than a bit misleading. He’s impressed with Fox has done.

“I’ve seen this situation before when there’s been a coaching change and there are some new players and some returners who are adjusting to a new coach. Mark has done a great job with this Georgia team. I definitely don’t think their record is indicative of how they’ve played. They’ve had some good non-conference wins -- they beat Georgia Tech and Illinois – (and) they obviously had a great win over Tennessee over this past weekend.”

That 78-63 win over Tennessee certainly got a lot of people’s attention and was much needed positive reinforcement for a team that had lost to Kentucky by eight, Ole Miss by four and Mississippi State by two in its first three conference games. Donovan says there are a lot of things that Georgia does very well.

“They rebound the ball exceptionally well and they have tremendous size in their frontcourt. They have great perimeter shooting and (Dustin) Ware is great. They have very good pieces and they’re efficient on offense. This will be a great challenge for our team.

Georgia is led by sophomore Trey Thompkins (16.9/8.1) who is an absolute match up nightmare with his small forward skills and power forward body. However a guy who has really made a big difference is 6-4 wing Travis Leslie (13.9/6.5) who is markedly improved over his rookie season and was named SEC player of the week for his performance against Tennessee. Donovan talks about Leslie and his play this season.

“I think he’s always been blessed with great athletic ability and great talent as a runner and jumper. I’m sure he learned a lot as a freshman, and give him credit that he has the understanding, the intellect of how he needs to take the experience(s) that he had an utilize them in order to be an effective player. He’s made a huge jump as a player from his freshman to sophomore years and I think is now one of the best wing players in out league.”

Another guy Florida has to focus on is shooting guard Ricky McPhee who is nailing 40 percent of his long range shots. The back court of McPhee and Ware is a big turnover prone as is Thompkins which is why Georgia is last in the SEC, committing 15.5 turnovers a game in league play.

The game gets underway at 7:00 in the O’Dome and is televised by Comcast Sports South which can be hard to find in Florida.

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