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Billy Donovan knows about both sides of the Kentucky-Florida rivalry. He was an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at UK and now has been at Florida longer than any other active SEC coach has been at his school.
So what does he think of the rivalry between the two SEC powers?
“One thing I’ve always said is that being at Kentucky for a five-year period and finding out a lot more about their history and their tradition, they’ve set the bar, so to speak. Their program has been in this league a long time. I think every school in this conference looks at Kentucky as being the program to try to become,” Donovan said. “Obviously, it’s hard to do because they’ve done it for such a long period of time, not just here recently.
“I think it’s great having them in our league. I think that’s been terrific because it certainly draws a lot of attention to our league. Since John (Calipari) has been there, he’s done a terrific job. I think Tubby (Smith) did a great job. Coach (Rick) Pitino did a great job. Eddie Sutton, the list goes on and on with the coaches that have been there and the jobs they have done.
“I think that’s a great thing for us to be able to constantly try to strive and achieve towards. But that’s really, in a lot of ways, a lifetime of trying to achieve something like that because they’ve done it longer than maybe anybody else in the country or in college basketball for that matter.”