Billy Donovan weighs in on huge upsets
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Florida coach Billy Donovan’s Gators suffered a rare – and fairly shocking – loss this week to unranked Arkansas on the road. The lucky part about it, though, was that Kansas lost in an even more unexpected fashion the following night to Big 12 bottom-dweller TCU, so college basketball fans turned their attention away from what happened in Fayettesville.
Donovan isn’t putting on some front and declaring he’s not concerned about the loss; he is very concerned. Mostly, though, he’s curious to see how his team responds in practices and when Florida plays Mississippi State on Saturday.
Donovan caught up with USA TODAY Sports by phone Thursday to discuss the Arkansas loss, perceptions of the Southeastern Conference and what this season’s parity could mean for the NCAA tournament.
Donovan on top teams – like Florida and Kansas – suffering surprising, gut-check losses:
There’s a lot of parity in college basketball. There aren’t one or two teams that are head and shoulders above everybody else. I think the other thing, too, is there are times I think where teams that are ranked very high get a lot of attention, publicity and exposure – potentially over-blowing how good they are. They’re maybe not as good as maybe people are saying. Then you get some teams that aren’t being talked about much and don’t have the same resume or same kind of wins throughout the course of the season. They don’t get the same level of attention. What it comes down to, when you’re playing a one-shot game in the course of your conference schedule home or away, if you don’t play well, the chances are you’re not going to win. … When you’re dealing with a lot of young people, and the course of going from one game to the next to the next in a long conference schedule, there are going to be some nights where you don’t perform to the level you need to perform at – and the other team does.
Donovan on his team’s response to its third loss of the season:
There are things we have to get better at, … [For more on Coach's Corner: Florida's Billy Donovan weighs in on huge upsets, click here.]