Each year, it seems, weather or another travel issue has a way of getting in sixth-ranked Florida’s way on the path to a good season. It happened again on Thursday night after a 68-62 win at Alabama. Mechanical problems with the plane led the Gators — after their 10th straight win — back to the team hotel for the night rather than home to prepare for today’s home date with Tennessee. Gators coach Billy Donovan said the team got back around noon Friday and shook it off as any kind of problem. But it was a sleepy, road-weary team that prepared for the game. Florida (16-2 overall, 5-0 in the SEC) has struggled with the Volunteers (12-6, 3-2) over the years. Donovan is just 16-18 in the series. The team had to wait in the lobby for a while since their hotel rooms had been given away Thursday night. Donovan said he just “set up shop” in his room and started studying tape after everyone got in a room by about 11 p.m. “In this league, when you playing Thursday-Saturday, you are dealing with some of that,” said Donovan, of a situation almost like the NCAA Tournament with only a day to prepare. “So instead of watching tape on the flight home and coming in here this morning, it was a little bit different. We were able to stay there, get some work done last night and get some work done on the flight coming in.” With just one day between games, Donovan said there wasn’t much physically the team could do to prepare for Tennessee anyway. “I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal or an issue or a problem for us,” Donovan said. “By the time we would have gotten back here with class and everything else they would have been up early anyway.” An unranked Tennessee team, which meets the Gators at 4 p.m., has knocked off a ranked Florida club 11 times over the years. Eight different times, UT has beaten UF when the Gators were ranked in the top 10. The last time the Vols faced Florida in Gainesville on Jan. 11, 2012, Tennessee upset the No. 8 Gators to end a 19-game home winning streak.
Delay part of No. 6 Gators' preparation
Florida Today | Jan 25