Coach Billy Donovan will go for his fourth consecutive win over in state rival FSU on Wednesday night. The Gators (6-0) will battle a Seminoles squad that has struggled as of late. The Noles started the season 4-1 but have dropped two straight including an embarrassing loss to Mercer last Sunday. Even with FSU’s early struggles, Donovan still believes the Seminoles will play above their (4-3) record.
On the Florida side, Donovan is aware that his team is undefeated, but is quick to guard against complacency. The team comes into the matchup as the sixth ranked team in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls.
The Gator fast start marks just the fourth time the team has started 6-0 and is even more of a surprise as early season injuries and suspensions have created a starting lineup that was not what Donovan expected coming into the season. One player who was projected to be a starter, but has dealt with concussion issues all season long is junior Casey Prather. Prather has only played in two games this season, but is slowly seeing his minutes increase and Donovan expects Prather to play an even bigger role against FSU and moving forward.
But he isn’t the only one who has sat this season. Coming as a bit of a surprise, center Patric Young was benched before the Marquette game last week and Donovan cited poor practice performance as the reason. This week is a new start for Young who responded big off the bench against Marquette by providing a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds to go along with three huge blocks. Donovan also says that Young’s practice play is finally up to the expectations of the coaches.
This support comes at a great time for Young who at last check, will indeed start. Other probable starters include Will Yeguete, Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario rounding out the five. However, these names aren’t a shocker as they have been the starting lineup for most of the season.
While those five are part of the tentative lineup, it is junior Erik Murphy who’s status is questionable at this moment. The senior forward has a hip pointer and has not practiced since last week. Teammate Mike Rosario doesn’t worry about injuries on this year’s team and says there are many players capable of stepping up.
To hear the Sunshine State showdown listen to ESPN Radio 850/900, 100.1 Ocala starting Wednesday night at 6:25 pm.