Alabama-Florida Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 01, 2013
Florida is expected to have a full set of players this weekend but doesn't know how much its newly healthy ones will contribute in the drive toward an SEC title. With Will Yeguete and Michael Frazier II cleared to return, the eighth-ranked Gators will try to maintain sole possession of the conference lead by knocking off visiting Alabama on Saturday. Florida (22-5, 12-3) had all of its players practicing Thursday for the first time since Oct. 12, with Yeguete and Frazier back on the court. Yeguete, averaging 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, was initially expected to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery Feb. 8, but has recovered faster than expected. Frazier, a freshman averaging 6.4 points, sat out Tuesday's 64-58 loss at Tennessee because of a concussion. Without them, Billy Donovan essentially went with a six-man rotation and, not surprisingly, the Gators seemed to wear down in the second half. Casey Prather appeared to suffer a concussion late in that game but has passed baseline tests. Although Yeguete and Frazier are cleared, there's no guarantee they'll see the court, and Donovan doesn't want his team thinking it can simply rely on their presence. "They've got understand that they've got to step up and they've got to play and they cannot take the approach of, 'Well, we're a little bit deeper. We have more guys available,''' he said. "Because I just don't know if Frazier and/or Yeguete are going to be really able to provide some significant minutes for us.'' While a second SEC regular-season title in three years is within reach, Donovan admitted his biggest priority is getting his team healthy in time for the postseason. The Gators hold a one-game lead over Alabama (19-9, 11-4) and Kentucky with three to play. Florida will get to play its next two games at home, where it's 13-0 and has won its seven league games by an average of 25.2 points, before ending the regular season at Kentucky next Saturday. A win and a Wildcats loss at Arkansas on Saturday would give the Gators a share of that crown. Florida will first try to extend its five-game win streak over the Crimson Tide in their first meeting of the season. The Gators have won the last eight in Gainesville by an average of 17.4 points. The Tide, losers of 10 straight to ranked foes, have also dropped 13 consecutive road games against Top 25 teams since a 77-73 victory over No. 4 Mississippi State in 2004. After its four-game win streak was snapped with a 97-94 triple-overtime loss at LSU last Saturday, Alabama bounced back Tuesday for a 61-43 rout of Auburn with leading scorer Trevor Releford providing 21 points. Releford, averaging 15.6 points, scored a career-high 36 against LSU. The Tide went 6-2 in February despite shooting 39.4, and getting their offense on track against Florida seems like a tall order. The Gators are third in the nation in scoring defense at 53.5 points per game, and are limiting opponents to 36.0 percent shooting in Gainesville.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker