1 » No. 7/8 Florida Gators basketball has been getting a lot of love since dismantling Missouri on Saturday. Florida has plowed through the first four games of its Southeastern Conference schedule and is starting to look like one of the most dominant teams in the country. Enter John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus (via ESPN Insider [$]), who contended over the weekend that the Gators are “the real No. 1” team in the country at this point. As he wrote on Jan. 20, Florida is putting forward “an unheard-of 0.42 points per possession [differential]” statistic during SEC play, which is double what some former national title teams have been able to achieve. Despite the Gators playing against some talent-poor teams in the early going, Gasaway notes that “we’ve never seen a number as silly as 0.42 after 254 possessions of conference play.” In other words, when all is said and done, UF may have found the offense necessary to go along with its impressive defense, a combination that could send it blasting its way through the SEC and into a top seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. KenPom.com certainly thinks so, as it has the team as at least a seven-point favorite in every game for the remainder of the regular season.
2 » Former Florida golfer Brian Gay qualified for the 2013 Masters on Sunday when he won the 2013 Humana Challenge by registering a birdie on the second playoff hole. The victory was his fourth on the PGA Tour and at 41-years-old, he will be back at Augusta National for just the second time in his long career. He finished with a nine-under 63 but struggled through his final round. Gay birdied nine of the first 13 holes before registering par on holes 14-18. He had a chance to win on 18 but missed a birdie putt; luckily, Gay’s two playoff hole birdies made up for the miss.
Read the rest of this post…including two BITS and two VIDEOS…after the break!
3 » Not much has come out of the 2013 Senior Bowl so far regarding running back Mike Gillislee and offensive tackle Xavier Nixon. ESPN Radio out of Austin, TX noted that Cincinnati Bengals owner/general manager Mike Brown was talking to his scouts about Gillislee, who according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tyler Dunne, “stood out” and was “very decisive with a lot of burst” on the field. On CBSSports.com, it is noted that Nixon “moved around the offensive line” during practice “seeing time at left tackle … but also taking reps at left guard on Tuesday.” Though some have been critical of Nixon so far in practice, the same article notes that “he flashed the hand strength to deliver a jolt off the snap and hold his ground, but his best attribute is his feet and athleticism, which makes him a better fit [at tackle].” Gillislee and Nixon also visited with the South Alabama Gator Club on Tuesday.
4 » Would you like to see San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the three-point shootout during NBA All-Star Weekend? Then you’re just like Dave Hartley of the band War on Drugs, who started a petition on Change.org to get Bonner in the competition. As of press time, 579 people have signed the petition with 421 more needed to reach the 1,000-signature goal. Social media has been even more impactful with the campaign as the hashtag #LetBonnerShoot has heated up on Twitter. “”Matt is an outsider in the NBA, someone I would always root for,” Hartley told SPIN. “He takes public transportation to games, works his ass off for various charities and foundations (some of which he has started) and is utterly down to earth. … He truly deserves to be in the competition – he is leading the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.492) and led the league last year. He is 12th all-time in three-point percentage. He absolutely should be invited, and yet never has. It’s an injustice.”
Extra BIT » Former Gators and current Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller participated in a charity karaoke event hosted by teammate Shane Battier called “Battioke 2013” in South Beach, FL this past week. Below are videos of Haslem singing “Mary Jane” (must-watch) and Miller performing “Ice, Ice Baby.”