1 » Two days after eliminating the (1) Florida Gators in the Final Four of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the (7) Connecticut Huskies went on to win the entire thing, claiming the national championship with a wire-to-wire 60-54 win over the (8) Kentucky Wildcats. UConn’s victory was a fitting end to the 2013-14 season for Florida, which saw one of only two teams to hand it a loss during the campaign capture the title as opposed to a team in Kentucky that it beat three times in a single season.
2 » The 2013-14 incarnation of CBS‘s famous One Shining Moment tournament recap featurette included six appearances by the Gators starting with a little girl doing the Gator Chomp at the beginning. Senior center Patric Young was shown three times, first at “the ball is tipped” (0:25), then for his big block against Pittsburgh (1:39) and finally on a dunk (1:47). Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin‘s halftime buzzer-beater three-pointer against Pittsburgh was not included, but he was shown celebrating afterward (2:10). UF was also in the video on a play in which it got dunked on by UConn.
3 » A number of details were announced Monday for the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut, which is set to take place on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Florida’s annual spring game will consist of four 12-minute quarters with a running clock stopping action during the two-minute drill at the conclusion of each half. The offense will don blue jerseys while the defense wears orange. Head coach Will Muschamp previously announced that teams will not be “drafted” but the game will rather pit the first-team offense against the first-team defense and the second-team offense against the second-team defense.
Sun Sports also released viewing information for the game on Monday that left many Gators fans displeased. Due to a scheduling conflict with the Tampa Bay Rays (Florida’s spring game was pushed back a week to accommodate junior quarterback Jeff Driskel as he returned from a broken fibula), UF’s spring game will not air live on television in the state of Florida. The Gators will broadcast the game live via their own online streaming video service, GatorVision.tv, at a cost of $3.99 for a pay-per-view or as part of a subscription package. Fans wishing to watch the game either on television or for free will have to tune in to Sun Sports at 5 p.m., Sunday morning for Breakfast with the Gators or at one of four other scheduled replay times. [Editor’s note: FOX College Sports Atlantic currently has the game on its schedule to air at 2 p.m.]
4 » Responding to a poor turnout last season (approximately 15,000 fans), Florida announced last Sunday that Gator Growl will actually be moving from Florida Field to Flavet Field in 2014, making it the first time that the “World Largest Student-Run Pep Rally” will be somewhere other than The Swamp in more than eight decades. The Gators and Gator Growl organizing committee claim the change is being made to “bring the show back to a student perspective as it was originally celebrated,” promising a more “intimate” and “interactive” show. But the truth is simple: attendance is down, booking has been poor and interest in the event has waned.
Though Gator Growl should not be directly tied to football performance, lack of excitement in the team over recent years following the departure of Urban Meyer has correlated to a dip in attendance at homecoming. Couple that with some uninspired talent lineups and there is simply less motivation than ever for fans to attend. UF claims Flavet Field can hold 21,000 fans (no seats, of course, and the completely open field will have to be fenced in so the school can sell tickets), so it will be interesting to see how Gator Growl is booked and what the response is from Gator Nation following the event.
Extra BIT » Unable to air highlights from the Gators’ NCAA Tournament games due to restrictions from CBS and Turner, ABC affiliate WCJB TV-20 in Gainesville recreated Florida’s victory in the Elite Eight and showed the footage on its evening broadcast.