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Friday April 4, 2014 From Gators practice at UT-Arlington

UT-ArlingtonARLINGTON, Texas -- Standing at center court of the University of Texas-Arlington practice facility, Billy Donovan surveyed his team as they took pre-practice free throws Friday morning.

“There’s a great coaches quote,” Donovan told me. “All practices are 50-50.”

As in some good, some bad.

The objective right now, obviously, is for good.

Really, really good.

The No. 1-ranked Gators (36-2), winners of 30 in a row, have not played a game since last Saturday night, so over the course of the last six days the UF coaching staff has tried to manage the team with a steady and progressive build-up of to Saturday night’s showdown with 18th-ranked Connecticut (30-8) in the Final Four at AT&T Stadium.

Donovan gave his players both Sunday and Monday off from practice, but met with them as a team. The Gators returned to floor Tuesday with a specialized work and individual instruction at the O’Connell Center, then had a solid practice that included some full-contact segments Wednesday before leaving for Dallas late in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Florida had hard 90-minute closed workout inside the vastness that is “Jerry World” and that practice was pretty good, too.

After this morning’s sessions (that included some live scrimmaging and working on both themselves and UConn), the Gators were to bus from UT-Arlington to AT&T for their required media obligations and 50-minute open shoot-around. Both of those constitute “distractions” that Donovan has told his players over and over are part of the deal when reaching the Final Four.

“Every team has to do it," Donovan said. "And it's better than the alternative."

As in being home.

Nothing 50-50 about that statement.


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