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Alligator Army Mar 29, 2015

2015 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight open thread: The last bit of madness

One final day when anything can happen... Sunday just can't be a better day of college basketball than Saturday was. We got Arizona going nova and Wisconsin going supernova in the early game, as the Badgers played one of the better second halves in recent memory, still managed to get out-shot by the Wildcats, and won an Elite Eight rematch. And then we got Notre Dame throwing the fear of a loss into Kentucky for the first time in ages, only for Kentucky to rise up late and set up a Final Four rematch. Whatever your feelings on the teams involved, the basketball itself was great. But we're...
Alligator Army Mar 28, 2015

2015 Elite Eight open thread: Better than nothing?

Last year's Elite Eight was a lot more fun than this one. Gosh, the Elite Eight was a lot better last year. Florida was in it for the fourth straight season. And then Florida won an Elite Eight game, handling Dayton and occasioning such things as this post and this post and this post and a Final Four trip. Of course, that didn't end up going exactly like we wanted. But it was better than this. Now, we get to watch Kentucky and see whether or not the Wildcats can be the first team in 24 years to make it to the Final Four with a goose egg in the loss column. Now, we have to see two teams...
Alligator Army Mar 27, 2015

2015 March Madness Sweet Sixteen open thread: Hello, old friend

Wouldn't it be kind of cool to see Lon Kruger make another Final Four? It's fun and fashionable to pretend that Billy Donovan is the be-all, end-all of Florida basketball. But that's just not so. And the man who led Florida to its first Final Four may take Oklahoma to another this year. Lon Kruger's probably never going to get another shot at the Final Four as he has right now: Oklahoma's the No. 3 seed in a region that has already lost its No. 1 and No. 2 seed, and while his Sooners do have Tom Izzo's suddenly steely Michigan State Spartans to deal with on this Friday night, every team...
Alligator Army Mar 26, 2015

2015 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen open thread: Shock the world

The Sweet Sixteen begins tonight, meaning the first of the last two truly great college basketball days of the year is here. And while two of the remaining three No. 1 seeds are playing tonight — Wisconsin against North Carolina, in a game that should feature a lot of points, and Kentucky against West Virginia, in a game that will either be a titanic upset or a massive beatdown — I'm most interested in Wichita State meeting up with Notre Dame. The Irish have managed to get to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in more than a decade under Mike Brey by beating two mid-majors by a total...
Alligator Army Mar 26, 2015

With Michael Frazier II's departure, Florida's scholarship situation gets a little clearer

Florida's now just one departure away from fitting snugly under the NCAA's scholarship limit. Michael Frazier II's surprising decision to leave Florida for the 2015 NBA Draft — which is still unconfirmed by Florida or Frazier, but now being reported by five different outlets — leaves the Gators in a bit of a pinch as far as shooting and scoring are concerned in 2015-16 and beyond. Frazier was unquestionably going to be Florida's first or second option in 2015-16, and would have been expected to lead the team (and perhaps lead it in scoring) as the only four-year senior on the roster....
Alligator Army Mar 26, 2015

Michael Frazier II to leave Florida, declare for 2015 NBA Draft, per reports

Florida's sharpshooter may have played his last game in orange and blue. Florida junior Michael Frazier II is expected to declare for the 2015 NBA Draft, according to reports from agent Darren Heitner, Adam Silverstein of Only Gators and Jeff Borzello of ESPN. Frazier, the only recruited true junior on Florida's 2014-15 roster, averaged 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds last season, but saw his efficiency from behind the arc dip as a result of being keyed on by opposing defenders. Frazier made almost 47 percent of his threes in 2012-13 as a freshman, then made nearly 45 percent of his threes as...
Alligator Army Mar 25, 2015

Hot Reads: Florida's spring practices, Will Grier and Treon Harris tweet, IPF progress

Florida's spring practices may not be that revelatory, but tweets from Will Grier and Treon Harris might be. And what does Florida having an IPF really mean? Florida's spring practices are ... going One of the few reasons that you haven't seen any coverage of Florida's spring practices here is that I am very skeptical of taking anything away from them — especially this year. Jim McElwain's had his charges for about 10 days now — Florida's spring practices began on March 16, but there hasn't been a practice every day since then. And all anyone not on the team or invited to practice has...
Alligator Army Mar 24, 2015

Florida Gators Weekend Review: Beam dashes SEC dreams, softball nearly sweeps Alabama

Florida's teams had varying degrees of success against Alabama over the weekend. Beam falls cost Florida SEC title, but Gators still grab No. 2 seed in NCAA Championships For three rotations during Saturday's second session of the SEC Gymnastics Championships, Florida's two-time defending national champion squad was about as good as it could be. On the vault, uneven bars, and floor, Florida posted scores of 49.575 or better — scores that would have propelled the Gators to a titanic score of better than 198.200, and an easy SEC title, had the fourth apparatus produced a number as strong....
Alligator Army Mar 20, 2015

NCAA Tournament 2015 open thread: More madness on Day Two, please

Thursday was great. Can Friday be as good? Thursday's opener to the 2015 NCAA Tournament was, in a word, tremendous. Five one-point games — that was a record. Another game going into overtime? Cool. Two No. 14 over No. 3 upsets for the third time in Tournament history? Yeah, I'll take that. The problem is that there's no way this Friday slate of games can be better than Thursday's ... right? I mean, I'll root for Robert Morris to upset Duke like the rest of the free world, but barring something like that transpiring, I just don't think this slate can match the drama we got on...
Alligator Army Mar 19, 2015

NCAA Tournament 2015 open thread: Day One

The madness has arrived. Finally, the NCAA Tournament is really here. And, no, Florida won't be in it, but you can still enjoy it. If you're not at work, I hope you're somewhere comfy for the next 12 hours. And if you are? The NCAA's March Madness Live site is your best friend for streaming. Here are the announcer pairings as well as the game times and television channels for Thursday's first round (screw you, NCAA) action in the Tourney. All times are Eastern. Thursday, March 19 Game: Notre Dame vs. Northeastern, 12:15 p.m., CBS Announcers: Brian Anderson/Steve Smith//Lewis JohnsonGame:...
Alligator Army Mar 18, 2015

Florida 14, FSU 8: Gators' bats, Seminoles' errors help UF take first of midweek meetings

Florida's once again set up for a fantastic season on the diamond. Over the last couple of years, I've used the Florida-Florida State midweek meetings to sort of jump-start our baseball coverage here. They come late enough in the season that Florida's non-conference series have already more or less gone by the wayside, and they pit two talented programs against each other in pitched games in which the intensity of the game more than makes up for the lack of weekend starters. Tuesday night's first game of three between the Gators and Seminoles this year went to Florida by a 14-8 margin. And...
Alligator Army Mar 16, 2015

Florida (and many other teams) made the right call in declining CBI invitation

And, hopefully, an unnecessary tournament is soon going to be a thing of the past. I suspect most casual college basketball fans' only notion of the CBI — the College Basketball Invitational — comes from what Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said about it while addressing the Hoosiers declining an invitation in 2014: Indiana Director of Athletics Fred Glass confirmed that decision to The Star on Sunday night. "Finances wouldn't be an issue if we thought it made sense," Glass told The Star. "But we're Indiana. We don't play in the CBI." That bolded section became the stuff of great...
Alligator Army Mar 15, 2015

2015 NIT Selection Show open thread: Watch if you want to be disappointed

Can Florida make the NIT with a losing record? The 2015 NIT isn't likely to invite Florida. The Gators are 16-17, and would be the first losing team since at least 2010 to make the NIT field. But with the Gators missing the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Florida fans might be interested in watching to see if their team gets a chance to play in the second-most prestigious postseason tournament in college basketball. Florida made the NIT in 2007 and 2008 after narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament in both years. And the Gators actually made a deep run in the 2008 NIT, taking down San Diego State,...
Alligator Army Mar 13, 2015

Florida Gators Weekend Open Thread: Gators looking for national titles, big wins

It could be a massive, massive weekend for the Florida Gators. Here's a quick Weekend Open Thread this week — I'll have a fuller "Weekend Preview" for Saturday. Florida's unbeaten softball team is hosting LSU in one of the biggest weekend series in SEC history, Florida's baseball team is beginning SEC play with a home series against Tennessee, the Gators gymnastics team is capping its 2015 regular season with a Senior Night affair with overmatched Texas Woman's University (yes, it's a real thing), #FLax is up in Maryland for a showdown with the No. 1-ranked Terrapins, both Florida's men's...
Alligator Army Mar 13, 2015

Kentucky 64, Florida 49: Gators' NCAA hopes (and season?) end in brownout

It's all over now. For the third time this season, Florida fought hard against unbeaten Kentucky well into the second half. And for the third time this season, it wasn't enough. The Gators struggled to score in the second half against the Wildcats on Friday in their SEC Tournament quartefinal, finishing with just 22 points in the period, and fell by a 64-49 count to Kentucky, ending their run to make a sixth straight NCAA Tournament with an unlikely SEC Tournament title. The Gators did, once again, exploit Kentucky's defense down low and on drives: Jon Horford nearly matched a career high...
Alligator Army Mar 13, 2015

Florida vs. Kentucky, 2015 SEC Tournament, Game Thread: Third time's the charm?

Florida looks to prevent a three-game sweep by Kentucky — and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Florida's only beaten Kentucky three times in a season once — it happened last year, as the 2013-14 Gators beat the Wildcats at home, in Rupp Arena, and in the final of the SEC Tournament. So Kentucky is trying to "avenge" that sweep, or something, when the teams meet Friday (1 p.m., SEC Network / WatchESPN) in the quarterfinals of the 2015 SEC Tournament. But three-sweeping Florida's really nothing new for the 'Cats. As Adam Silverstein pointed out on Thursday, Kentucky's swept Florida...
Alligator Army Mar 12, 2015

Florida 69, Alabama 61: Gators win to begin 2015 SEC Tournament, led by Dorian Finney-Smith

Dorian Finney-Smith's third double-double of the season helped the Gators get a win. Behind 23 points and 11 rebounds from Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida got a 69-61 win over Alabama in the first round of the 2015 SEC Tournament on Thursday. Florida's Friday reward? A date with Kentucky. For a day, most things went right for Florida — even though a 17-9 run by Alabama began the game and knocked Florida on its heels. The Gators responded by going on an 18-6 run into halftime, taking a four-point lead to the locker room, and though Alabama's 4-0 burst tied the game early in the second half,...
Alligator Army Mar 12, 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Florida in the doldrums, Amanda Butler's extension

We're in the doldrums a lot sooner than expected. And Amanda Butler got an extension much sooner than expected, too. Florida football hits the doldrums early I haven't been writing much around here of late. I'm sure you've noticed — and, perhaps, grumbled to yourself, or chosen other options to get your Florida Gators news. But here's my explanation: There's nothing going on. Here's Jim McElwain's press conference from Tuesday, likely his last one before spring practice begins on March 16. It is more than half an hour long. Here is the "news" from it: Brandon Powell's going to...
Alligator Army Mar 10, 2015

Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson earn All-SEC honors

This season wasn't all bad? Florida forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Devin Robinson each garnered All-SEC honors, the conference announced Tuesday. Finney-Smith, a redshirt junior, was named to the All-SEC second team, and Robinson, a freshman, was named to the SEC's All-Freshman team. Finney-Smith was the SEC's Sixth Man of the Year in 2014, coming off the bench behind three other All-SEC performers, and led Florida in scoring and rebounding with 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Robinson scored 6.8 points and corralled 2.8 rebounds per game, and had come on late in the season for...
Alligator Army Mar 9, 2015

2015 SEC Tournament: Florida gets No. 8 seed, to face Alabama in first round

It might be a quick trip to Nashville for the Gators. With the completion of SEC play over the weekend, the Florida Gators earned ("earned"?) the No. 8 seed in the 2015 SEC Tournament, and a midday game on Thursday against Alabama. The Gators finished at 8-10 in conference play, tied with Alabama, but won a totally meaningless tiebreaker with the Crimson Tide by virtue of their 51-50 win in Tuscaloosa in January. (Seriously, the value of that tiebreaker is ... wearing home jerseys?) The two teams will tip off on Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern in Nashville. Oh, and the winner of that game gets...

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