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The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators take on Vanderbilt tonight to begin a critical final stretch



The Florida men’s basketball team is about to embark on a critical week. Florida will play Vanderbilt tonight at 9 in the O’Connell Center, then host Kentucky Saturday night.

Florida has been solid on the road, having lost just one true road game. But if the Gators want to remain atop the SEC East standings (5-2), they have to take care of business at home.

“These games are huge,’’ senior C Vernon Macklin said Monday. “We’ve got two games at home against two great teams. I think if we can go out there and play well and try to get these wins against these two teams it will be a great opportunity for us.”

In the final nine games of the regular season, Florida will face Vanderbilt and Kentucky twice each, and has rematches with South Carolina (a loss), Tennessee (a UF win) and Georgia (who took the Gators to double OT before UF won).

That, UF coach Billy Donovan said, is one of many factors when looking at Florida’s recent history in February. The Gators were 5-1 in SEC play in 2008, but finished 3-7; in    2009, the Gators were 5-2 in SEC play when February began, then won just four of its last nine SEC games – including three losses in the last four games; last season Florida entered February with a 4-2 mark and split the final 10 games.

Donovan previews tonight's game:



[Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 10:40am]


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