SIX BITS: top 25, tennis, Muschamp, PIT, Tebow

By Adam Silverstein
April 9, 2013

1 » Despite ending their 2013 NCAA Tournament run in the Elite Eight for the third-straight year, Florida Gators basketball was placed at No. 9 in the final USA Today Coaches’ Top 25 poll of the 2012-13 season. Florida was not the only Elite Eight team to fall outside the top eight of the poll, however, as Marquette checked in at No. 11 in the final rankings. Indiana (Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse) and Kansas (Sweet 16 loss to Michigan) took the two other spots in the top eight. The Gators also checked in at No. 9 and No. 10 in 2011-12 and 2010-11, respectively, after losing in the Elite Eight. Florida will likely enter the 2013-14 campaign ranked in the preseason top-10.

2 » No. 2 Gators women’s tennis (17-2, 10-1 SEC) ran through its competition over the weekend, extending their winning streaks to 10 consecutive team matches and 30-straight individual matches. Florida swept the Ole Miss Rebels (10-10, 4-6 SEC) and Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-12, 1-10 SEC) in a pair of home showdowns over the weekend at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL. The Gators won all 11 matches and had the opportunity to celebrate Senior Day against the Bulldogs on Sunday. Seniors No. 1 Lauren Embree and No. 125 Caroline Hitimana were each unable to finish their singles matches due to Florida registering a quick 4-0 victory but both won their doubles contests. The No. 20 duo of Embree and junior Sofie Oyen picked up an 8-2 win, while Hitimana and junior Alex Cercone won 8-0.

On Monday, head coach Roland Thornqvist praised Embree at his press conference, making note of her incredible career and tremendous work ethic. “You want to know why Lauren Embree is the best college player to ever play the game?” he asked rhetorically. “It was Monday morning at 8:30, and after a weekend full of matches and practices, she runs to the courts, hits serves for 30 minutes, then I show up and we go at it [on the court] for an hour and 15 minutes. By 10:00, she’s done with two workouts already while the rest of tennis America is still sleeping. That’s why we’re good and that’s why she’s good. She sets the tone, the bar is high, and I think everybody feeds off of it. We’ve just been blessed to have that for four years. Frankly, it’s just amazing.” The Gators women’s tennis program is hoping to win its third-straight national title.

Read four more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!

3 » The folks at GatorVision.tv over the weekend posted this clip of Florida head football coach Will Muschamp addressing the team in the locker room following Saturday’s 2013 Orange & Blue Debut spring practice.

4 » As OGGOA first reported on Saturday, a pair of Gators basketball players – guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario – have agreed to participate in the 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. The annual event, which will take place for the 66th time this year, is held to help fringe players improve their stock in order to hopefully be selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. Scouts from the NBA and other leagues across the globe will be in Portsmouth, VA from April 10-13 as they evaluate talent during the three-day tournament. Most players that participate – like Boynton and Rosario – are either considered low second-round picks or likely undrafted free agents. Former Florida center Vernon Macklin and point guard Erving Walker have participated in the PIT in each of the last two seasons. Macklin wound up getting selected by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 52 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, but the diminutive Walker did not get selected despite playing well in the PIT. Forward Erik Murphy also received an invitation but declined.

5 » While the New York Jets continue to hold quarterback Tim Tebow hostage, other teams are giving opportunities to backup signal callers and roster spots around the league are quickly being filled. One team that apparently had some interest in Tebow at one point (if he was cut and available as a free agent), the Seattle Seahawks, are now apparently no longer interested according to Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times. Tebow, who according to Jesuit High School (Tampa, FL) spent time working with former Jets QB Vinny Testaverde over the weekend, plans to report to New York’s voluntary offseason workout program, per ESPNNewYork.com. The team is apparently set to continue under the guise that it might keep him but are still “expected to release him after the draft.” Whenever Tebow is eventually cut free, if the teams have roster spots available, the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots will likely at least pop their heads up as potential options. Though the “circus” surrounding Tebow is likely a deterrent for many teams and head coaches, his ability to at the very least work as a read-option quarterback on the scout team should certainly be attractive considering the transformation that many NFL offenses are currently undergoing.

6 » No. 3 Florida softball (38-4-1, 12-3-1 SEC) and Gators baseball (15-18, 5-7 SEC) had polar opposite weekends (as has been the case much of the season) with the former team winning the first two games of a home series against Mississippi State (24-14, 3-9 SEC) before dropping the third game, and the latter program losing the first two contests of a road series against the Bulldogs (26-9, 5-7 SEC) prior to earning a victory in the series finale. Softball earned 9-1 and 4-2 victories on Friday and Saturday, respectively, extending its winning streak to 12 games before a grand slam fueled MSU to a victory on Sunday. Baseball remained three games below .500 with 7-3 and 2-0 losses in the first two games prior to earning a hard-fought 8-3 victory on Sunday. With 23 games remaining, Florida baseball must go at least 13-10 to hit .500 and get in contention for NCAA postseason play.

5 Comments

  1. me says:

    When did Florida Baseball get a tie? Or am I reading that wrong?

    Wish they had more ties 🙁 Tough season.

  2. Michael Jones says:

    A top ten finish is nothing to be ashamed of and I don’t see anything about finishing #9 that we would have a right to complain about.

    As for Tebow. . the heartbreak continues. He still has a winning record as an NFL quarterback, and he’s STILL won more playoff games as a Denver Bronco than Peyton Manning (not saying he’s a better QB than Peyton. . just saying that he deserves a shot at a WHOLE season, including the offseason leading up to it, as a starter . . if he got that and didn’t play well, then you’d never hear another peep from me).

  3. Donnie W says:

    Won’t be shocked when Tebow is either traded during the draft for a 6/7th round pick or cut immediately following the draft. Going to the jets has to be the worst thing that has happened for Tim in regards to his football career ever. There’s a great chance that had he gone to Jacksonville he would of become the starter when Henne did and could possibly be the starter again this year. I know hindsight is always 20/20 but what a enormous error career wise he made with that decision.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    I have always thought NE would be a great spot for Tebow, good system, good QB to learn from, lots of Gator love there, hope that works out. What NYJ are doing to him is despicable.

    As far as rankings, while they don’t matter in hoops, I bet top 10 will be conservative guess, i would suspect top5 if not top 3 with quite a few #1 votes. A lot will depend on how many Michigan/Indiana/Duke return, but the Gators are looking to be one of the deepest and most talented teams going in to next year. As long as they have the chemistry and people dont quibble over PT, Next year could be another special year.

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