Florida's Hodge ready for Wildcats

Florida guard Walter Hodge discussed the Kentucky and Florida teams of the previous two seasons. When asked about what separated the teams Hodge said, "We wanted to win. We didn't like to lose. I am sure Kentucky didn't want to lose, either, but maybe they just didn't work as hard."

Florida guard Walter Hodge really can't explain why the Gators won national titles in 2006 and 2007 and Kentucky struggled in NCAA play each year despite having a recruting class that was ranked as high, or higher, a few yeas ago.

"Kentucky has had great players. I don't know what was going on with them. We just worked so hard and beat on each other in practice every day for two years. We wanted to win. We didn't like to lose. I am sure Kentucky didn't want to lose, either, but maybe they just didn't work as hard," Hodge said.

Hodge and the Gators are rebuilding this year, but they have been more successful than UK going into Saturday's game with the Cats.

"It is different this year because I played with those guys (who won two national titles) who knew what it took to win games and now I am dealing with freshmen. They are doing a great job studying the game and learning how hard they have to work in college. They are doing the right things," Hodge said. "Two years ago people did the same thing by selling us short and saying we were too young, and we were able to win it all. We are not going to think about anything except winning. We are going game to game and being the best we can."

He understands why UK seniors Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley might be frustrated by their lack of NCAA success as well as UK's losing record this year.

"They are both great players. They just have to keep doing the right things. We just won games they didn't the last few years. I know how much they wanted to win titles and things, but sometimes you learn when you don't win. But I know how much they would like to come on our court and get a win their senior year," Hodge said.

Hodge admits he was glad when coach Billy Donovan decided to quickly come back to Florida after briefly accepting a job with the Orlando Magic.

"It is great to have one of the best coaches in the nation come back because he loves us. That means a lot to us. At that time, it was a great job for him after winning two national championships and it was his opportunity to follow a dream. But he loved us so much that he came back and let that go. That's probably one reason we are doing so well. We want to win for him," Hodge said.

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