Thin Frontcourt Prepares for Alabama

It isn't pretty in the paint for the Gators. Will Yeguete's concussion kept him out of most of Saturday's loss to Tennessee and it showed as the Gators were outrebounded and outscored in the paint. With Yeguete likely out for at least this week, the Gators will have to be creative in how they find ways to score in the paint and rebound.

"Dire is probably a word to use," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said about the frontcourt. "We're going to have to do some different things, both offensively and defensively. Certainly going into Alabama without Will being there – there is a tremendous void for us there defensively at the basket. Alabama— they are a big, enormous team upfront."

The Gators will have Cody Larson available after he missed Saturday's game with an illness. However, he doesn't make up for what Will Yeguete has given the Gators all year. The sophomore is the focal point of the full court press and can cause turnovers with his quick hands.

While Yeguete is out, the Gators could look at going small. Donovan used a four-guard line on Saturday that brought Scottie Wilbekin in as the power forward. It isn't ideal, but it gives the Gators athleticism and quickness. If they go with the small lineup, they'll have to turn the game into a fast break game and keep Alabama out of the half court offense.

"I think our presence at the basket, both offensively and defensively is pertinent with Will," Donovan said. "Will has proven, at least through the first part of SEC competition and some of the higher level competition that we have played – whether it has been (Arnett) Moultrie or Terrence Jones – even though Will isn't 6'10" he is still a problem out there, defensively. He can hold his own, in and around the basket. So we'll probably have to play Casey Prather down in there some, maybe even Scottie Wilbekin, Brad Beal even. "

Prather struggled when forced into action on Saturday. He turned the ball over twice but was a liability with the ball in his possession. He scored five points and had two rebounds in 11 minutes played.

Donovan met with Prather on Sunday, a meeting initiated by Prather. The sophomore wanted to figure out how he could be a better help on the team in Yeguete's absence. Donovan said that sometimes Prather gets caught trying too hard to help on the floor and causes issues that way.

"One of the things with Casey is if there is anybody on our team that deserves to play well, it's him," Donovan said. "There have been games that he has not played, there have been games that he's played sparingly, his minutes have been very inconsistent, he's not necessarily in the steady rotation at all times and he has never, never, once had a bad attitude. He comes to practice every day and works. He puts extra time in.

"I've just been trying to explain to him that he's got to go in and play the game and read what is going on. It's like a guard coming down the floor at the defense that has already predetermined in his mind what he's going to do instead of reading the defense. I think he's got to get better at reading situations and not getting so bogged down mentally."

Donovan doesn't care who it is that gets involved on the boards, but the Gators will need it against Alabama on Tuesday. Patric Young played 36 minutes on Saturday and was noticeably exhausted. Donovan didn't have options but to keep him in the game.

"That's something together as a group that we're going to have to handle," Donovan said. "We're going to have to find ways to rebound the basketball – we're going to have to do things. That goes back to what I was talking about earlier with our energy, our passion, that collective mentality of getting everything done together. We can't leave someone on an island, by themselves, down the post."

INJURY UPDATE: Mike Rosario will also be out of Tuesday's game with the hip pointer injury that kept him out Saturday.

LOOKING AT ALABAMA: Depth isn't the only problem for the Gators. Florida doesn't even know what to prepare for on Tuesday night. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant suspended Trevor Releford, Andrew Steele, Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green before Saturday's loss to LSU.

The expectation is that Releford and Steele will be reinstated for Tuesday's tipoff. The status of Mitchell and Green is still up in the air.

"I think when you're walking into a situation like that - and I don't think anybody knows - you always prepare for their full team," Donovan said. "We'll prepare like those guys are going to play. I don't know if they will, but the last thing I would want to happen is for our team to assume somebody is not playing and all of the sudden they're out there and you have to tell your team, "Listen, these guys are playing." I think if some of them are not playing we will adjust depending on who's in their starting lineup. We'll go in preparation wise like they're all going to be there."

Mitchell and Green are the two most interesting because they could present problems for Florida's thin frontcourt. The duo combines to average 27.2 points and 14.2 rebounds a game.

"Obviously, those two guys across the front line are very talented, very gifted," Donovan said. "JaMychal Green has, since he stepped foot into this league, been an impact player and played very well. I think he continues to get better and improves."

"Mitchell is an interesting guy because of his versatility. He is one of the rare guys in our league that can play inside and can play outside, he's got athleticism and strength and he can shoot it. He can do a lot of different things."

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