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1. Would a site map really make any difference?
2. The number of pages being crawled nightly has been increasing but it really jumped last night to over 1000 but they are all zero bytes transfered get requests. Is Googlebot making its own site map so to speak to come back later for a full crawl?
3. These days I don't have a clue about what to think about Googlebot and its methods. Can anyone enlighten me? Does this sound good or bad?
The elimination of unnecessary bandwidth and server resource usage is precisely the purpose of the Conditional GET request. You will also see some clients use HEAD requests for the same purpose, although a CGET is more efficient.
In short, don't worry about it. All is well.