Gators looking to rebound against Alabama tonight
If you're operating on the premise that Florida's remaining basketball schedule is too difficult for the Gators to 6-0 down the stretch, then tonight's game against Alabama is the proverbial "must-win'' game.
On paper, at least, Florida has the edge.
First of all, it's at the O'Connell Center. The Gators are 13-0 at home this season, and if ever they needed to hold serve at home, this is it. Like last week's opponent, Georgia, Alabama lost its coach earlier this season and is struggling. The Tide has lost five of its last seven games, including three straight.
But after the loss to Georgia, which was 0-9 in conference play before beating the Gators, Florida can take nothing for granted. There are no sure wins left for this team. Alabama interim head coach Phillip Pearson said the Tide knows it could be catching Florida at a bad time.
"We’re expecting a tough game down there,,' he said. "They are coming off a couple of very tough losses in the past week at Kentucky and then on the road against Georgia over the weekend. We’ll have our hands full. It’s an exciting place to play, a good environment to play in. I believe our guys will be excited to play once we get down there.”
At 19-6 and six games remaining in the regular season, Florida's NCAA Tournament hopes rest on how the Gators finish this final stretch. UF coach Billy Donovan refuses to look ahead, but believes whatever happens, the team is giving all it has right now.
"Outside of maybe the Tennessee game on the road, we've been in every game and we have had a chance, we just were not able to get over the hump and have been a couple of plays short here and there,'' Donovan said. "For the mot part, I think our guys have really tried
pretty hard. We are limited this year, there is no question about that,
but they are trying. When you talk about making a run, I am not really
worried about making a run as much because that the run doesn’t really make a difference if you don't play well against Alabama."
The game is at 7 p.m. tonight, but won't be televised live.