The issue with this week's Thursday-to-Saturday matchup is the travel. Florida played in College Station and was scheduled to return to Gainesville late Thursday night. The players think the 4-0 record during back-to-back weeks with a Thursday-Saturday turnaround is in large part because of head coach Billy Donovan's familiarity with the setup.
"The way that Coach Donovan prepares us for games in practice," Florida center Patric Young said about the key to being successful in a quick turnaround. "It's nothing we haven't faced before. When we had eight days off between Air Force and Yale game, Coach Donovan was really pushing us every single day. When we have practices like that it helps us come into these games with confidence and the right mindset."
The outcome on Thursday also helped the Gators prepare some for Saturday. The focus was to get out of College Station with a win, but as the Gators went to the locker room with a 17-point lead, they had a comfortable lead. Donovan didn't need to push his starters as hard in the second half.
That was welcomed news for a team that is dealing with nagging injuries. Mike Rosario missed Saturday's game at LSU with a sprained ankle but returned to action on Thursday after having two good days of practice. Rosario led the Gators with 19 points.
Florida was without Casey Prather (high ankle sprain), and he is expected to miss at least another week. Forwards Erik Murphy (fractured ribs) and Will Yeguete (knee tendinitis) are both playing through pain. Murphy played 30 minutes and Yeguete played 19 at Texas A&M. Donovan purposely played some less experienced in the second half to rest players and get younger players more experience before Saturday's game.
"We're going to need some more depth on Saturday with this quick turnaround and travel tonight," Donovan said.
Donovan won't let his team feel sorry for itself. As soon as the team gets into the basketball facility on Friday morning, the attention turns to Missouri. The Gators won't have a physical practice on Friday. They'll watch film to correct some issues from Thursday and to prepare for the Tigers.
The most important part is rest. The banged up players need some time to heal their injuries while the Gators do their best to prepare for the Tigers with only a short period of time.
"We've done this before," Donovan said. "We did this last year, quite a bit, we did this the year before that. You just really go one game at a time. Everybody in our league has to deal with that. That's just kind of the way it is."