College Basketball: Florida at Georgia – Florida Favored
The top-ranked Gators look to remain undefeated in SEC play when they visit Georgia on Wednesday.
Florida stayed at No. 1 this week, but was voted to the top spot unanimously, the first team to accomplish that in nearly two years. Illinois was a unanimous No. 1 in the final regular season poll of 2004-05.
The Gators (21-2, 8-0) have won 14 in a row – the longest current streak in the nation – and are coming off two impressive performances at home. They trailed by 12 points against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, but rallied to beat the then-No. 24 Commodores 74-64. Florida routed Tennessee 94-78 on Saturday after leading by 26 points at halftime.
"We’re very honored to be voted a unanimous No. 1 in the nation. I realize it doesn’t happen very often," said Florida coach Billy Donovan. "At the same time, we’re aware that a lot of that has to do with what other teams have done around us. There’s still a long way to go and we’re just trying to get better each day, but it’s certainly always flattering to be No. 1 in the nation."
The Gators’ 8-0 start to conference play is the best in school history. That includes three road victories, a total Florida can add to with games at Georgia and No. 20 Kentucky this week.
Florida’s only losses this season have come to then-No. 10 Kansas in Las Vegas and at Florida State on Dec. 3. Since that defeat in Tallahassee, the Gators have won five straight away from home.
"We have two on the road this week and five of our last eight are on the road, so we have to focus and put all our energy toward this game on Wednesday," Donovan said. "(We have to) get prepared and ready as we can to play against a team that is very, very good.
"Georgia right now is playing well, particularly at home. I’m sure it will be a great environment in there."
Florida has won two straight over Georgia (13-8, 5-4) in Athens and six in a row overall against the Bulldogs, including a 67-51 home victory on Jan. 6. Georgia led by one point at halftime and held a 39-34 rebounding edge – only two other teams outrebounded the Gators this season – but Corey Brewer had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 boards to lead Florida.
"I’ve considered Florida to be the No. 1 team in the country for over a year now. Nothing has changed that," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "It’s obviously a big challenge for us, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to be able to play the best team in the country."
The Bulldogs have played much better at home than on the road. Georgia is 4-0 at home in conference play and 10-2 overall this season. The Bulldogs would like to take advantage of that after two road losses last week.
Georgia lost 82-71 to Tennessee on Wednesday, then lost 66-61 to Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Bulldogs have shot under 40 percent in their last three games.
Georgia is 2-5 against ranked opponents this season, but did knock off then-No. 21 LSU 57-54 in its last home game.
This is the oldest rivalry for either school. Florida leads the all-time series 97-94.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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