It’s a tough and serious question, can Georgia go on the road and give Florida a competitive game?
The Georgia-Florida Basketball series has been a farce of a rivalry for 15 years. The difference is that Florida has committed to winning in all sports while Georgia has committed to winning in only one and has not even done THAT right. Florida’s teams are aggressive and they come into any game with the expectation of dominating and humiliating their opponent while Georgia just hopes the opponent screws up enough to create openings. The talent differential is not the issue, it’s all about expectations, preparation and composure.
For Florida, facing Georgia in Men’s Basketball is not a big deal. In fact, they really do not consider it much of a rivalry. It’s a Football rivalry and since 1990, the rivalry has weakened considerably as Georgia became just an opponent for the Gators to squash. Winning 13 straight home games against Georgia, 20-5 against Georgia in Men’s Basketball since the 2003-04 Season and 21-6 against Georgia in Football from 1990-Present. Florida is dynamic, fearless, innovative and brash while Georgia is scared of its own shadow and stuck in the past. Put in another way, University of Florida Athletics is like a dynamic, growing, prosperous and ascendant city while University of Georgia Athletics is like a depressed Rust Belt city waiting for the Steel Mill that the city was 100% reliant upon to come back after closing 30 years ago.
The old O’Connell Center used to hold 11,548 patrons for Men’s and Women’s Basketball events at the University of Florida. The new Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center holds only 10,133 patrons. This is the second recent case of an SEC Basketball Arena “right-sizing” to fit shrinking demand. The other case is Auburn in their transition from Beard-Eaves Coliseum to Auburn Arena.
The new Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center looks like the old O’Dome, but has an intriguing neutral site feel to the inside of the arena. The decision to get rid of the corner video boards and install a center court overhanging video board gives the environment a more cookie-cutter sort of an experience. It does weirdly seem like a basketball arena that is placed inside of a casino facility (Mohegan Sun).
Contrast it to the O’Connell Center of the past, which was strangely humid and the experience was much like being in a natatorium. However, it was also a very cozy environment that had the Rowdy Reptiles very close to the action.
The atmosphere is different, but the belligerents are foes that despite the different rosters and coaches have basically replayed the same game the past thirteen times they have faced off. Each game resulted in a Florida victory and the way Florida earned each victory was always the same.
What Happens in Every Georgia-Florida Game in Gainesville
- Florida presses Georgia all game long and it becomes a major accomplishment to get the ball past half court.
- Florida puts a ton of ball pressure on Georgia in the half court and Georgia struggles to dribble, pass or get a shot off.
- Florida gets wide open three point shot attempts and drains them.
- Florida gets Georgia into tough foul trouble.
- Georgia plays with the intent of slowing down the game and then finds themselves down double digits with no chance of ever coming back.
- Georgia never fights back with a press of their own and does not apply any pressure on the ball handlers.
- Florida’s big men get several humiliating dunks on Georgia.
- Georgia’s rare point blank shots are taken in a nervous fashion.
- The game is well decided after the first media timeout of the second half.
Florida is the bully and Georgia is more than willing to be stuffed in a locker or be given a swirly. Florida is slick, smart and aggressive, Georgia is the rube that thinks pro wrestling is real. Florida is Itchy and Georgia is Scratchy.
That’s what the Georgia-Florida “rivalry” can be reduced to now.
2016 Georgia-Florida in Gainesville all GIF’d Up
This does not require an explanation. Each GIF speaks for itself.
Some Retro Georgia-Florida Triggering in Gainesville
Need proof the goal was to slow them down? Here you go. Down 20 in the first half.
Who Needs Metrics and Analysis When You Have 13 Straight Appearances of the Same Game?
Georgia’s challenge if they choose to accept it is to not be afraid and not play like the previous 13 iterations of Georgia Basketball that stepped in that same building. Punch Florida in the mouth with traps and presses, make them uncomfortable for a change. Otherwise, why show up? Is Georgia “Man Enough” to beat Florida?
“We know they’ll have a great crowd, they always have and it’s tough… But really what we address with our players is to play well, and play the right way. That’s what we’ll focus on.”
The phrase “play the right way” should trigger off alarm bells. Georgia is a 10 point underdog coming into this game and the line should jump 3 to 4 points on that line. It’s the just same old song.
Prediction: Florida 77 Georgia 59
This song has been dedicated to us by our friends Dennis, Mark, Vince, Don, Billy, Michael, Greg, Damon and Pete.