UF out to make teams uncomfortable
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
As good as they've been during their perfect run through the SEC, the Florida Gators do know how it feels to be uncomfortable. That's the position they found themselves in just a week ago in Athens, when they found themselves down against heavy underdog Georgia.
Since then, though, the Gators have been doing nothing but making their opponents feel uncomfortable, on both ends of the court.
That's the way it played out in a rout at Mississippi State on Saturday.
That's how it played out again Wednesday night in an even bigger rout of South Carolina.
“We just try to make teams feel uncomfortable, especially when they're trying to run their sets,” said senior guard Mike Rosario, who scored 15 points in UF's 75-36 domination of the Gamecocks. “We lock in on the scouting report. We know every guy's tendencies and we take advantage of being inconsistent in that area.”
The Gators learned a valuable lesson (without getting hurt) in the come-from-behind win at Georgia. Since then, the game plan has pretty much been the same — start fast, get teams down early and then pound them into submission.
“I feel like our guys learned how to dig in as one in that game,” Rosario said. “When you can do that on the road, it says a lot about your team. I just feel like right now there is a lot of positive energy running through our team.”
The Gators have been using that energy to overwhelm opponents. In the last two games, UF has outscored the opposition by a combined score of 157-83.
“We want to come out and rip people's hearts out,” senior guard Kenny Boynton said.
The Gators certainly have had a killer instinct in SEC play, even in the second half at Georgia, running away from the ‘Dogs in the second half for a comfortable 64-47 victory.
Once the Gators get a team down, they keep it down.
“What I've tried to get across to these guys is when you're up by a large margin, that does not give you the right to not do your job,” UF coach Billy Donovan said. “... They need to keep forming the proper habits. When they have the opportunity to do the right thing at the right time, they can't have the excuse of, ‘Well, we're up big, I don't need to do that, it's not as important.' ”
Donovan's team was very good again Wednesday night, but far from perfect, he said. So, the quest to get closer to that goal continues.
“The more you win like this, the more you show what you're capable of, the more responsibility you have because you're playing at a certain level,” Donovan said. “What you try to do as a basketball team is not go backward a step, but continue to grow and get better, and understand that is the No. 1 priority — getting better.”