Florida is coming off a pair of victories over Top 25 teams, has won 10 of 12 and is in first place in the SEC East.
Coach Billy Donovan, though, still isn’t sold on the 17th-ranked Gators.
Florida looks to avenge last month’s home loss to South Carolina and avoid a third straight defeat to the Gamecocks on Wednesday night.
“It feels good,” senior forward Chandler Parsons said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the Wildcats. “It’s a big-time win. These are the kind of games you dream about as a child.”
Donovan, however, isn’t as happy as Parsons.
Florida has struggled from 3-point range, making 33.5 percent of its attempts, and is 10th in the 12-team conference in free-throw shooting at 65.7 percent.
“As a coach, I am just trying to deal with what is the truth, what is the reality about where we at, where we got to get better,” Donovan said. “I think our guys have shown a level of resilience. My biggest concern is handling the prosperity part, ‘Can you understand the human element and battle that and try and get yourself ready to play?’
“I want to see us have a disposition on the court that we are playing at a level that is as hard as we can play.”
Florida didn’t play up to that level Jan. 15 against the Gamecocks (13-8, 4-4). The Gators missed eight of 13 3-pointers and went 12 for 22 from the line (54.5 percent) in a 72-69 loss.
“We’re not always focused and Coach doesn’t know what he’s going to get out of us sometimes,” freshman Patric Young said. “Sometimes it seems like we’re not ready to play. … (Donovan) says there’s two types of players: The guys that come out and play the game and see how hard they need to play and then there’s the other guys that come out and give it their all.
“Sometimes we match up with teams like Jacksonville or UCF and we’ll be like, ‘Oh, they’re not playing that hard. Maybe we can go down and play at their level.’”
Florida will certainly be aware of South Carolina leading scorer Bruce Ellington this time around. The freshman guard scored 23 points, including the final six for the Gamecocks, and added four rebounds and three assists last month.
Ellington, averaging 14.4 points, went 8 for 15 from the field in that matchup but has shot 29.4 percent (20 for 68) in five games since.
He made 4 of 17 shots Saturday as South Carolina lost for the third time in four games, 78-60 at Vanderbilt.
“This is the first time where we felt like we’ve given the kind of effort and focus that we need and the other team just played really well and made shots,” coach Darrin Horn said. “For us to be 4-4 and picked last to start the season, I don’t think there’s many people thought we’d be in this spot.
“We have to keep grinding, come back and keep getting better.”