Gators prepared for Savannah State

In Billy Donovan's mind, the potential a post-Christmas letdown is just as real as one before Christmas. The Gators went their separate ways for break after their win over Fresno State on December 22 and got back to practice the night of December 26. They'll face a unique challenge on Sunday at 3 p.m. against a Savannah State team that rotates through 11 players.

Florida beat Savannah State 58-40 last season while Patric Young posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Last season, nine Savannah State players were on the court for double-digit minutes. It won't be much different this year.

Savannah State has 11 players on the floor for double-digit minutes this season and will rotate players at a frantic pace. The Tigers have used 11 different starting lineups for their 12 games this season. In their last game against Miami, they started a lineup with their top four leading scorers coming off the bench.

"They rotate their lineups," Billy Donovan said. "They're going to shoot threes, they can put it on the floor. You're going to see a lot of changing defenses. They're a very, very aggressive team as it relates to the fact that they don't maybe have the size of Memphis or teams that we've played like that, but they've got speed and quickness.

"They have seven guys of their 11 that are going to play significant minutes that are going to shoot the ball from behind the three-point line."

The Tigers come to Gainesville with a 2-10 record with wins over Tennessee Temple and Florida National University. However, Donovan has been preaching to his team this week in practice that they have been competitive at times during their other games this season and will still pose a challenge on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the O'Connell Center.

"They haven't won a lot of basketball games, but they've been in a lot of games and given themselves a chance," Donovan said. "This is going to be interesting and a challenge for us going into this."

Donovan still has a relationship with Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax after the two played against each other in college. Broadnax played at Georgetown, and when asked who used to get the better end of those matchups, Donovan laughed and said that Georgetown often got the better end of those matchups over Providence.

INJURY REPORT: Freshman Kasey Hill injured his ankle late in the Fresno State game on December 22 and didn't return. Donovan said on Saturday that he could have played if the game was close, but the Gators were up by 15 points and there was no risk in putting him back on the court.

After suffering a high ankle sprain in November, the injury against Fresno State came to his other ankle. It hasn't limited him in practice and he has participated in practice fully as the Gators prepare for Savannah State.

"He's fine," Donovan said. "In the game against Fresno, it was more precautionary. We were going to have four days off, he stepped on the back of the guy's foot. He's been full-go in practice. He's not limited in any way."


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