Florida's basketball team has reached the Final Four but now Gators coach Billy Donovan realizes everything changes. He's been there as a player, an assistant, a head coach. "You get into a situation during the course of the year that you kind of get into a routine," he said Monday. "Then you go to the Final Four, it's like the Super Bowl in a lot of ways. There are a lot of different demands on your time when you travel. Most of the time we travel even to the SEC Tournament or even to the NCAA Tournament, ... for the most part, your traveling schedule is relatively the same. This is a very, very time-consuming thing, and there's a lot of things that I think can distract you from playing. "There is obviously an enormous amount of attention placed on the event, and our guys just need to understand that we're there to play basketball. We've been fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play another 40 minutes. Sometimes, with all that takes place in the Final Four, you can really, really get distracted on some of those things, so it will be very important that we keep ourselves focused mentally and emotionally, and even physically on things that we need to do to get ourselves prepared to play on Saturday." Florida will take on UConn in the first semifinal on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in North Texas. The winner plays the Wisconsin-Kentucky survivor next Monday. Donovan said the early part of this week is spent getting "personal stuff" out of the way "I think when you go to a Final Four, there is a lot of stuff coming at them," Donovan said. "I can't even imagine the amount of people that want tickets from them and people want this or that. There are a lot of things. I need to give them time to handle their personal stuff. That's what yesterday and today will be for them. You need to get that stuff out of the way. "Then this afternoon, we need to move forward in terms of the preparation part of that. I think for our staff, our trainers, strength coaches, we've got to get them back physically. Mentally getting them now ready to take that next step, because, again, there are going to be a lot of things coming at them. Most of the time, you win or lose the game and you move to the next thing. This is a different situation. It's just different." That's where Donovan's background is valuable. "Having a chance and being fortunate to be part of some of these events, I've got to try to help them understand what they're walking into," he said. "In doing that, they've got to really, really pay attention to just them doing their job of moving to the next thing and not get distracted by all this event brings to it. "It's the greatest time of the year. It's an unbelievable weekend. It's kind of the culmination of the college basketball season, but at the same point, we're here to play. We've got to get ourselves ready to play. We're not ready to play right now. We don't need to be ready to play right now. This is probably going back to the SEC Tournament, the last time we've had maybe a complete week, so to speak, where we're going to be able to be prepared to play. Now, coming out of that week, going into the game against Missouri, we did not play well in the first half, so we've got to make sure that we get this week off, because I think not only for us but the rest of the teams playing, everybody's dealing with a week right now that you want to be really ready to play once Saturday comes around."
Gators' Donovan well-prepared for 'Super Bowl'
Florida Today | Apr 1