From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Though President Barack Obama‘s official 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket will be released on Wednesday at 9 a.m. on ESPN, the network released his Final Four late Tuesday night. President Obama chose the Florida Gators to win the South Region and also has Louisville, Indiana and Ohio State advancing to the Final Four.
» Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had a hellacious experience during his team’s game on Monday evening. With 5.7 seconds left in overtime and Chicago trailing Denver by a single point, Noah got in perfect position underneath the basket and tipped in what otherwise would have been a missed shot. Though Noah scored the apparent game-winner and the referees did not call interference on the play, they checked the replay and eventually reversed their decision. The problem? Referees are only allowed to use replay to review on-court calls of interference, not to check on non-calls. Take a look at the video below to see what transpired on Monday.
Read 14 more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
» No. 3 Gators softball played a trio of extra-inning games against the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers over the weekend and came away with a series victory thanks to the heroics of sophomore right-handed pitcher/first baseman Lauren Haeger on Sunday. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Florida (27-3, 4-2 SEC) watched on as Haeger smacked a three-run homer to tie the game. In her next at bat, which came in the bottom of the eighth, Haeger hit her second dinger of the contest, a two-run walk-off shot that propelled her team to victory over Tennessee (23-6, 3-3 SEC). Haeger, as luck would have it, is of Irish heritage and put forth one of the best performances of her career on St. Patrick’s Day.
» Matching what his bosses have said over the last week, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan indicated on Tuesday that quarterback Tim Tebow may very well remain with the team at least through a portion of offseason camp rather than be cut as nearly everyone covering the team intimated he would be over the last few months. “He’s on the roster,” Ryan said, according to USA Today. “What we’re talking about is competition. And he’ll get a chance to compete. We’ll see how the offseason plays out. But right now, Tim is on our roster.” In other words, the Jets do not seem to be through in their mission to bastardize Tebow’s NFL career.
Not only has New York taken a playoff game-winning, immensely popular quarterback and turned him into a player who was as one-dimensional as someone could be in 2012, the Jets publicly trashed Tebow’s ability to contribute (lowering his stock) and leaked to almost every single media outlet that the team planned to trade or cut him by March 13. Rather than Tebow now being a free agent who could look around in an attempt to resurrect his career, he is stuck in a no-win situation with a coach and team that obviously does not want him around. If he is eventually released by the Jets, it could very well be sometime during minicamp or training camp after teams already have their rosters mostly assembled for the 2013 season. At that point, even if a team or two had Tebow on their radar early int he offseason, they may be even more hesitant to bring him in so late in the preseason process.
» Former Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte partied at Shore Club in Miami Beach, FL over the weekend and the website WorldRedEye.com got pictures of him hanging out with girls, mugging for the camera and acting a fool. If you care to view the pictures, you can check them out by clicking here.
» Wide receiver Percy Harvin being traded to the Seattle Seahawks makes one of the NFL’s most exhilaration teams even more exciting. In a feature on NFL.com, analyst Bucky Brooks takes a look at exactly why Harvin will take Seattle’s offense to another level. Among the reasons are Harvin’s incredible versatility, ability to impact the return game and the fact that the read-option will be even more difficult to stop.
» No. 2 Florida lacrosse improved to 12-0 on Tuesday by routing the Stetson Hatters (0-8) in Gainesville, FL by a score of 22-1. The Gators also completed a 13-5 defeat of the Oregon Ducks (4-2) in Eugene, OR on Saturday. UF has five games remaining in the regular season and is looking like the top team in the nation at this point.
» Newly-minted No. 2 Florida women’s tennis (11-2, 4-1 SEC) rebounded from its March 3 loss at Texas A&M well and has now won four-straight matches including two over the weekend. The Gators hosted the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (10-2, 3-1 SEC) on Friday and the Volunteers (5-6, 3-2 SEC) on Sunday, winning the matches 4-1 and 4-0, respectively. UF remains home for two more games this weekend before heading out on the road to conclude the month with two contests away from Gainesville.
» No. 1 Florida gymnastics (8-2) suffered a rare defeat on Saturday despite posting the nation’s top road score in a meet against the No. 7 Utah Utes (10-2-1) The Gators fell 198.125-197.875 to the Utes with sophomore Kytra Hunter (vault – 9.975) and freshman Bridget Sloan (balance beam – 9.95, all-around – 39.70) winning three total individual titles. Florida fans in attendance and following from Gainesville felt that Utah benefited from some home-cooking from the judges but none of that matters at this point. The Gators’ regular season is now over, and Florida was both elevated to the No. 1 nationally ranking and handed the top overall seed in the 2013 SEC Championships set to be contested on Saturday in North Little Rock, AR.
» While he hopes to continue his NFL career, former Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram spends the majority of his time in his hometown of Hawthorne, FL teaching the local youth about hard work and dedication to your craft. “Our kids are our future,” he told The Gainesville Sun. “I really like having the opportunity to give back. No matter what a kid wants to do, whether it is go to college or get a job after high school, they need someone to talk with. Being in a small town like Hawthorne, I really have a chance to make an impact and that means a lot to me.”
» Allie Kiick, the daughter of former Miami Dolphins running back Jim Kiick, has committed to play for the Gators women’s tennis program beginning in 2014. One of the top amateurs in the nation, Kiick will be a big-time contributor for Florida right away. She recently won the Gainesville Women’s Pro Tennis Tournament, earning a cash prize that she had to turn down in order to retain her collegiate eligibility.
» Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden is most certainly not shy, which is why it is no surprise that he praised his own abilities earlier this month. What may shock some, however, is that Haden said he is not the best but rather the second-best cornerback in the league. “I would say honestly – and this is just me being real 100 percent – I would say Darrelle Revis [is the best],” he told Pro Football Talk. “I studied tape on guys and I try to look and see what I can do to get my game to be on their levels [and] I feel like I’m honestly the number two cornerback in the league, that’s just my opinion personally.” Haden also took a stance contrary to many of his peers, praising Commissioner Roger Goodell for doing a good job in his role within the league.
» Florida safety Matt Elam discusses learning about life from his brother and current Kansas City safety Abe Elam with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
» 2014 four-star cornerback Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL) is already committed to the Gators and is one of the prizes of Florida’s recruiting class early in the process. According to The Gainesville Sun, Dawson is looking to improve his game before he even steps foot on campus by working out with former Gators CB Keiwan Ratliff. Ratliff, the paper notes, also trained Florida’s 2013 defensive back signees Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL) and Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL). Dawson and Harris have been close friends for quite some time.
» Gators baseball (10-12, 1-2 SEC) continued its disastrous 2013 season over the weekend, losing a three-game home series at McKethan Stadium to the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats (16-3, 2-1 SEC). The two losses resulted in Florida dropping four of its last five games. UF took the series opener from UK 4-1 on Friday before falling 11-5 on Saturday and 6-2 on Sunday. The Gators, however, ended their nine-game homestand on Tuesday with a 9-4 victory over the North Florida Ospreys (15-7). Florida will play its next four games on the road, taking on No. 2 Vanderbilt in a three-game series before travelling to Tallahassee, FL to face No. 5 Florida State.
» Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan has turned down the NBA at least once in his storied career but if he should ever get the itch again, he does appear to have a connection in the front office of one of the league’s best teams. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Donovan and Memphis Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien have a relationship because the former helped the latter out at a tough point in his life.
Levien said he had met Donovan once at a basketball camp. When he was debating leaving Georgetown for Pomona College in the early 1990s, he placed a phone call to Donovan, then an assistant at Kentucky, seeking advice. It was once of those you-probably-don’t-remember-me-but phone calls, and Levien said Donovan spent two or three hours on the phone with him and even called him back the next day. “I’ve just never forgotten it,” he said.