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For current information on this topic, see 2009-10 Florida Gators men's basketball team.
Florida Gators
Florida Gators athletic logo

University University of Florida
Conference SEC
Location Gainesville, FL
Head coach Billy Donovan (14th year)
Arena Stephen C. O'Connell Center
(Capacity: 12,000)
Nickname Florida Gators
Student section Rowdy Reptiles
Colors Blue and Orange

             

Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Alternate
NCAA Tournament champions
2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament runner up
2000
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1994, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1994, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1987, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament second round
1987, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament appearances
1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010
Conference tournament champions
2005, 2006, 2007
Conference regular season champions
1989, 2000, 2001, 2007

The Florida Gators men's basketball team represents the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They play their home games in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center located on the university's campus. Billy Donovan has been the head coach of the Gators since the 1996–1997 season.

The Gators have two national championships, having won the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament back-to-back, the first team since the 1991–1992 Duke Blue Devils to accomplish this feat, and the first team to do it with the same starting line-up.

Contents

Overview

The Florida Gators men's team annually plays a sixteen-game conference schedule that is preceded by an out-of-conference schedule against few annual opponents except for Florida State. Florida also often plays Providence during their non-conference schedule because of Billy Donovan's ties to the university. Their conference schedule consists of a pair of home-and-home games against the other five SEC Eastern Division teams, plus one game against each of the six SEC Western Division teams, with home games alternating each season. The Gators have seldom had significant rivals in basketball until recently, when their success found them competing against Kentucky and Tennessee.

History

Florida began play in basketball in 1915–1916 under head coach C.J. McCoy. The team went 5–1 its first year, but the following three seasons were all canceled during and immediately after World War I. The team started back up in the 1919–1920 season without a coach, though they did have a new venue—the newly-built University Gymnasium. William G. Kline took over coaching duties from 1920–1922.

The 1920–1921 Florida Gators basketball team.

By the mid-1920s the team outgrew the University Gymnasium (now called the Women's Gymnasium), so the university built another gym to hold the crowds of the fast-growing student population. Dubbed the "New Gym," the Gators played there until 1949, when Florida Gymnasium opened.

In December 1932, Florida joined the Southeastern Conference as a charter member.

The team moved from the Florida Gym to the Stephen C. O'Connell Center during the 1980–1981 season.

Under the tenure of Norm Sloan, Vernon Maxwell led the team to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen in 1987, and Sloan coached the team to the tournament again the following two years, winning the first SEC Championship outright in the 1988–1989 season. After a drug scandal involving Maxwell and an NCAA investigation, Sloan resigned and the program went on probation. Don DeVoe led the team as interim coach for the 1989–1990 season.

Lon Kruger was hired as the coach before the 1990–1991 season. Despite the probation he inherited, Kruger slowly brought the team to increased success and reached the NIT final four in his second year as coach. In 1993–1994, the pieces fell into place for Florida to have their best season ever at that time.[1] Behind Andrew DeClercq and Dametri Hill, the Gators went to their first Final Four following a dramatic victory over UConn where Donyell Marshall missed two free throws with no time on the clock to force overtime, where the Gators eventually prevailed.[1] They lost to Duke in the national semifinal, 70–65.[1] The next year, they returned to the NCAA tournament, but were eliminated in the first round. Kruger's final season in 1995–1996 resulted in a losing record, and he left to coach at Illinois.

Florida's Athletic Director, Jeremy Foley, looking for a young coach with a proven track record, hired Billy Donovan, then at Marshall, as Kruger's replacement. His recruiting prowess was evident early, bringing future NBA star Jason Williams with him from Marshall and having early recruiting classes with future NBA players Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, and Matt Bonner, among others. The Gators made the NCAA Tournament every year from Donovan's third season with the team through the 2006–2007 season, a nine-year streak that is the school record, and the sixth-longest NCAA Tournament streak.

During the 1999–2000 NCAA Tournament, the upstart Gators beat such traditional powerhouses as Duke, Illinois (led by former coach Lon Kruger), and North Carolina to advance to their first National Championship Game, before losing to heavily-favored Michigan State.[2]

During the next few years the Gators went to the NCAA Tournament every year, but each year they lost in the first or second round. The Gators however repeated as SEC Champions during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. The 2004–05 team had the distinction of being the first to win an SEC Tournament Championship, when they beat rival Kentucky in the title game.

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2005–2006 National championship season

The 2005–2006 Gator's basketball team with President George W. Bush at the White House following their national championship.

The 2005–2006 team began the season unranked and went on a 17–0 winning streak for the best start in school history, surprising many with a young (four sophomores and one junior) but selfless squad following the graduation of David Lee and the departures of Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson to the NBA. The trio accounted for sixty percent of their offense in 2005. The team faded late in the regular season, losing its last 3 games in February and entering the postseason with a 24–6 record, yet still managed to win its second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship.

The Gators entered the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament as a number 3 seed with a 27–6 record and number 10 national ranking. They beat South Alabama and Milwaukee to advance to the Minneapolis regional. There, the Gators defeated the Georgetown Hoyas and upset the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats 75–62 to avenge their loss in the previous year's tournament and move on to their second Final Four under Donovan.

Florida defeated the upstart George Mason Patriots 73–58 in the national semifinals in Indianapolis. On April 3, 2006, the Gators defeated the UCLA Bruins 73–57 in the National Finals to win the school's first men's basketball NCAA Championship.[3] The University Athletic Association then purchased the floor used in Indianapolis for the Final Four, and installed it in the O'Connell Center.

2006–2007 National Championship Season

2006 Florida Gator Midnight Madness celebration
Left: Corey Brewer dunk exhibition. Right: Sha Brooks and Joakim Noah co-ed 3-point shootout.

The Gators returned all five starters from their championship team to begin the 2006–2007 basketball season ranked as the preseason number 1 in both major media polls, a first for the university.[4] The Gators locked up the SEC regular season Championship relatively early in the 2006–2007 season and were in possession of a 24–2 record before going on a late-February 1–3 skid that mirrored their 0–3 run a year earlier. For the second season in a row, the losses in February would be their last. Florida closed out Kentucky on Senior Night to end the regular season 26–5, and won their third straight SEC Tournament Championship with relative ease, beating Georgia, Ole Miss, and Arkansas 77–56.

Florida entered the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament as the number 1 overall seed in the tournament, and they advanced to the Final Four after wins in the regional against number 5 seed Butler and number 3 seed Oregon. In a rematch of the 2006 title game, the Gators again eliminated the UCLA Bruins in the national semifinal. Florida defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 84–75, in a rematch of a game they won 86-60 three months earlier, to become the first team since the 1991–1992 Duke Blue Devils to win back-to-back National Championships and the first college team ever to repeat as National Champions with the same starting line-up.

2007–present

Billy Donovan is currently the head coach of the Gators. Having recently completed his 11th season as coach, agreed to coach for the NBA's Orlando Magic on May 31, 2007. It was revealed on June 3, however, that Donovan had done an about-face and asked to be freed from his contract with the Magic to return to Florida. He was soon thereafter released from his contract and reintroduced as the Gators coach on June 7.

The Gators failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the Gators were eliminated by UMass in a semi-final game of the NIT. In 2009, the Gators were eliminated by Penn State in a quarter-final game of the NIT. In 2010, the Gators were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by BYU in double overtime.

Head coaches

Stephen C. O'Connell Center home of Gator basketball
Head men's basketball coaches Years
C.J. McCoy 1915–1916
NA (no team 1917-1918), (no coach 1919-20)
William G. Kline 1920–1922
C.Y. Byrd 1922–1923
J.L. White 1923–1925
Brady Cowell 1925–1933
Ben Clemmons 1933–1936
Josh Cody 1936–1937
Sam McAllister 1937–1942
Spurgeon Cherry 1942–1946
NA (no team 1943-44)
Sam McAllister 1946–1951
John Mauer 1951–1960
Norm Sloan 1960–1966
Tommy Bartlett 1966–1973
John Lotz 1973–1980
Ed Visscher (interim) 1980–1980
Norm Sloan 1980–1989
Don DeVoe (interim) 1989–1990
Lon Kruger 1991–1996
Billy Donovan 1996–present

Home courts

Florida Gator men's basketball historical venues
University Gymnasium Also known as The Gym 1920–1927
Building R Also known as New Gym 1928–1949
Florida Gymnasium Also known as Alligator Alley 1950–1980
Stephen C. O'Connell Center Also known as The O-Dome 1980–present

Notable alumni

All-Americans

Retired numbers

2006-2007 Basketball Championship starting five

The "04's" ("oh-fours", so nicknamed because they all arrived at UF in 2004) won two consecutive NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007. In Gainesville, they were known for their camaraderie on and off the court, as Brewer, Green, Horford, and Noah were roommates during their entire time in college[5]. All five starters plus 6th man Chris Richard went on to play professionally.

Gators currently in the NBA

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: #25 1993–94 Men's basketball," Gaiensville Sun (May 31, 2009). Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: #18 1999–2000 Men's basketball," Gainesville Sun (June 7, 2009). Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  3. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: #4 2005–06 Men's basketball," Gainesville Sun (June 21, 2009). Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  4. ^ Pat Dooley, "Top 25 Gator teams: #1 2006–07 Men's basketball," Gainesville Sun (June 25, 2009). Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Donovan staying; juniors to enter draft," Gainesville Sun (April 5, 2007). Retrieved March 1, 2010.

External links


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