Donovan controlling excitement of top ranking

Billy Donovan knew the questions were coming on Monday. The Gators completed another perfect week, extending their winning streak to 19 games while the only team ranked ahead of them lost twice. The Gators were set to become the No. 1 team in the country -- and eventually did. But before it became official, Donovan made sure to stress how little he cares about the rankings.

His point to the media and the message to his team this week has been to control the excitement about the rankings. It's not that Donovan isn't happy for his team. There's exposure that comes with the top ranking that helps the program, and it also, obviously, means the Gators are doing something right.

But it only means so much.

As Donovan was quick to point out, if Syracuse didn't lose last week, the Gators would still be No. 2. The move up the rankings was dependent on the outcome of a game Florida had no impact on.

"We would have never, ever been No. 1 if it had not been for the teams in front of us losing," Billy Donovan said. "Any time you do what Syracuse did and you've won out 25 games in a row, you do what Arizona did before they had Brandon Ashley's injury, you do what Wichita State is doing. Those are really, really impressive things, what they're doing on the court.

"When you start to be affected by what happens to other people, you get focused on the wrong things and your focus gets a lot broader where you really need to narrow your focus this year in terms of what we do need to do."

And what the Gators need to do now is prepare the same way they've prepared in recent games. It hasn't been a challenge up to this point of Florida's 19-game winning streak, likely because of the veterans on the Florida roster. Donovan will continue to search for ways to keep his team's focus.

Last week before Florida hosted Auburn, Donovan broke out one of his patented demonstrations to get his team's focus. He put a gym bag on the ground and asked senior Will Yeguete to move it to his locker. Yeguete reached down to grab it, but struggled to pick it up because it was full of weights. Donovan used it as an illustration to point out that Yeguete thought it would be easy to pick the bag up, but it was more challenging than he expected, pointing out the similarities to their game against Auburn, which turned out to be a battle.

"Let's say we do get a No. 1 seed and we were No. 1 and we were playing awful," Donovan said. "I would give all that up to have our team be playing great and ranked No. 15 in the country and a five seed. You want your team playing well. That's the most important thing in my opinion -- how is your team playing and how is your team performing? Keep the focus on that. You can have all those things around you. If you're not playing well, it may not mean a whole lot."

The Florida players sound like they're buying into Donovan's message. Michael Frazier and Will Yeguete both spoke to the media on Monday and echoed the thoughts of their head coach. They aren't concerned with the ranking and will continue to prepare the same.

"I think we have a good group of guys, guys that are level headed for the most part, especially our seniors," Frazier said. "They do a good job of trying to keep everything in perspective. All in all as a group, we understand that there's a lot of things that we can get better at. We just want to be the No. 1 team in the country at the end of the season, so right now it's all good, but we have to continue to get better and fall in love with the process."

INJURY REPORT: Florida point guard Kasey Hill (groin) will be a game-time decision for Tuesday's game at Vanderbilt. Hill has missed the last two games, forcing the Gators to use Frazier and DeVon Walker as the backup point guard when Scottie Wilbekin is off the floor.

Florida expects Hill back soon

However, Donovan wasn't optimistic about getting his freshman back on the floor.

"It's just one of those things where he is progressing, he is going through the different workouts, he is running and moving and he is getting better, but I think it's probably the trainer's decision in terms of we've come this far, what's the risk and reward of him playing and what is the potential for him injuring it again," Donovan said.

Senior forward Casey Prather (ankle, knee) continues to battle issues and wasn't on the floor down the stretch against Ole Miss. Donovan kept him off the court because he wasn't producing and was favoring the injuries. He'll play on Tuesday in Nashville, but the hope is that he'll get more comfortable on the floor moving forward.

Michael Frazier sprained his left wrist, but it didn't impact him against Ole Miss. He said there was some pain during the game but called it "nothing I couldn't play through."

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