Florida basketball drops again after upset loss

Despite trouncing the American Eagles 67-48 on Sunday, the Florida Gators (6-2) fell in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll and were dropped from the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week after being upset by the Central Florida Knights 57-54 on Wednesday.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Syracuse, Missouri, Connecticut, Baylor, Kentucky, Villanova, Minnesota, Georgetown, Memphis, Florida, Tennessee, Purdue, San Diego State, Texas, Illinois, Washington, UNLV, Gonzaga, Brigham Young

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Michigan State, Baylor, Georgetown, Missouri, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, San Diego State, Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue, UNLV, Minnesota, Brigham Young, Washington, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Baylor, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, Minnesota, Georgetown, San Diego State, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Brigham Young, Purdue, Washington, UNLV, Notre Dame

This Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Michigan State, Syracuse, Georgetown, Baylor, Tennessee, Villanova, Memphis, San Diego State, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Brigham Young, Purdue, UNLV, Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Louisville, Texas

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4) head coach Urban Meyer and Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) head coach Joe Paterno spoke with the media on Monday now that their respective teams have been selected for the 2011 Outback Bowl set to be played on Jan. 1, 2011, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

MUTUAL RESPECT RUNS DEEP

Meyer has always expressed his respect for those in his profession – like Paterno – who have paved the way for his success as a head football coach. Mentioning before the season that he and his wife Shelley have spent some personal time with the Paternos recently, Meyer again stated his admiration for the man on Monday. “Coach Paterno is college football,” he said. “It’s an honor to coach against him. He does it the right way.”

Paterno shared a similar sentiment. “Urban is one of my favorite people in coaching,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to play against him. He has been very innovative and ahead of things. He’s not one of those showoffs or anything like that. He is very honest. He seems to always be one step ahead of the people he is playing against.”

ADDAZIO STILL THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR – FOR NOW

Asked if Steve Addazio would retain his offensive coordinator role next season, Meyer was quick to answer. “I’m expecting that to happen. I’ll keep you updated,” he said. Though he did leave some wiggle room in his reply, Meyer has maintained that he has appreciation for Addazio and has not given any indication that he would be leaving the staff. That being said, Addazio could retain the offensive coordinator title while giving up the playcalling duties to a co-offensive coordinator – in theory.

A rumor began over the weekend that Meyer had contacted and was in the process of trying to convince Oklahoma State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dana Holgorsen to leave Stillwater, OK, for the same position and responsibilities in Gainesville, FL. Whether or not that rumors holds water remains to be seen.

He also had this to say about coaching staff changes in general. “So much happens,” Meyer said. “At this time, I can’t make any statements. There is so much going on with the profession right now.”

MCCARNEY TEMPORARILLY REPLACED

With assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney leaving the team after the regular season to take the top job with North Texas, Meyer was forced to find a suitable replacement for his team’s bowl game. He has temporarily promoted graduate assistant Tony Weaver to coach the defensive line for the Outback Bowl and will reevaluate the position after the season officially concludes.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer updated the injury status for a number of players on Monday. He said redshirt freshman QB/tight end Jordan Reed has yet to practice since suffering a concussion against Florida State, junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) is wearing a protective boot and hopes to be able to play on Jan. 1, and both redshirt senior defensive tackles Terron Sanders (shoulder) and Lawrence Marsh (hip) will likely miss the game after having surgery on their injuries last week.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

TWO BITS: soccer honored, women’s b-ball splits

1 » Two Florida Gators soccer players were named to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-America teams last Friday. Sophomore defender Kathryn Williamson was named to the second team, while junior midfielder Tahnai Annis earned fourth team honors. Six different Florida players received recognition when the NSCAA announced its All-South Region awards. Senior MF/D Ashlee Elliott, Annis, Williamson and sophomore MF/forward Erika Tymrak were chosen for the first team, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine and freshman F Taylor Travis were placed on the second team. Congratulations to the ladies for their two 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships (regular season, tournament) and for a great season.

2 » Gators women’s basketball (7-2) had an up-and-down weekend at the Brown BEAR Basketball Classic in Providence, RI, defeating the Providence Friars (5-5) 73-56 on Saturday before being upset by the Brown Bears (3-6) 56-50 on Sunday. Saturday’s victory was led by redshirt junior forward Ndidi Madu, who achieved her first career double-double, and junior guard Jordan Jones, who scored a game-high 19 points in the win. Sunday’s effort was a juxtaposition of the one Florida put forth the day before. After posting their best shooting percentage of the season the day before, the Gators shot a season-worst 30.6 percent from the field in their loss. Though Brown did not perform much better, Florida’s play was worse and ultimately led to their defeat. Jones shot only 2-of-13 from the field (2-of-11 downtown), while Madu led UF with 14 points.

Gators rebound to defeat Eagles 67-48 in D.C.

Wednesday was a rough night for the No. 16/18 Florida Gators as they fell in an upset bid authored by Central Florida. Saturday’s contest in Washington, D.C. was a bit easier for Florida (6-2) as they put together a 67-48 win over the American Eagles (5-3).

Senior forward Chandler Parsons rebounded from the worst performance of his career to score 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, bring down a team-high eight rebounds, dish four assists and grab three steals. Parsons was also 2-for-3 from the free throw line after missing all six of his attempts in the previous game.

Joining Parsons to lead the Gators was junior point guard Erving Walker, who scored a team-high 16 points of 5-of-7 shooting while going 4-for-6 from downtown. Senior F Alex Tyus posted 14 points, and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin scored 12.

Down 3-7 early in the contest, Florida quickly regained the lead on back-to-back jumpers from Macklin and 10 points by Parsons in a matter of six minutes. Up on American 12-10 with 13:56 remaining in the first half, UF would retain the lead and never look back.

The Gators took a 30-21 lead going into halftime but scored seven straight points out of the break and bumped their margin to a game-high 21 points with 2:33 left in the game.

Though the other four starters combined to go 20-for-31 from the field, sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was held scoreless on a 0-for-9 effort which included six misses from beyond the arc. Boynton contributed by dishing seven assists and holding onto the ball without a single turnover in 32 minutes.

As a team Florida shot 49 percent from the field, 84.6 percent from the charity stripe and 35.3 percent from downtown. They out-rebounded American 27-24, stole nine more balls (10-1) and committed seven fewer turnovers.

UF looks to keep the momentum going when they face Kent State on Thursday in Gainesville, FL. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and air live nationally on ESPN2.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Gators rebound to defeat Eagles 67-48 in D.C.

Florida accepts invitation to 2011 Outback Bowl

After completing their worst regular season performance under head coach Urban Meyer, the Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4) have accepted an invitation to play the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) in the 2011 Outback Bowl on New Years Day at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

Held continuously since 1986, the Outback Bowl is currently one of three Southeastern Conference-Big Ten games set to be played on Jan. 1.

Florida has participated in the event three times in its history, posting a 1-2 record including a 31-24 win over Iowa in their last appearance in 2005. Penn State has played in the game three times and is 3-0 including a 20-10 victory over Tennessee in 2006.

The Gators are 2-0 all-time against the Nittany Lions.

“We are excited to hear that we are going to the Outback Bowl and play in another New Year’s Day game,” Meyer said. “We are proud of our history of playing in January Bowl games – not everyone gets to enjoy that experience. We’ve been fortunate around here to be in a bowl game for 20 consecutive years and I’ve told our players and staff to not take that for granted. This is a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow and develop as a football team, while having a week of hospitality in the great Gator city of Tampa.”

“I have fond memories of my first bowl game at Florida in the 2006 Outback game. I remember the great job that Jim McVay and his staff did in hosting our football team. I want to thank Jim and the Outback Bowl Committee for inviting us back. We look forward to facing Penn State and one of the true legends in the game in Coach Joe Paterno. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Paterno and I will be honored to have the opportunity to coach in the same game as him.”

With Outback Steakhouse as the game’s title sponsor, the bowl will pay each participating team a minimum of $3.4 million. The Outback Bowl will air and celebrate it’s 25th anniversary on Jan. 1, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. on ABC with the contest being called by Mike Tiricio (play-by-play) and Jon Gruden (color commentary).

Florida advances to Sweet 16 after five-set thriller

Unlike many of their previous matches this season, defeating the Florida State Seminoles (22-11) was not easy for No. 1 Florida Gators volleyball (29-1). Nevertheless the Lady Gators rallied together on Saturday night to pull off a come-from-behind five-set victory 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 17-15) over the Seminoles in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Championships at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

With the win, Florida advances to the Sweet 16 in Austin, TX, where they will face head coach Mary Wise‘s alma mater Purdue.

Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy led the way for UF with a team-high 19 kills, 21 assists and 12 digs for yet another triple-double. Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel complimented her with 18 kills and 12 digs, and senior OH Callie Rivers added eight kills and 18 digs. All over the place Saturday was senior libero Erin Fleming, who notched a team-high 20 digs while nailing two service aces. Senior middle-back Lauren Bledsoe contributed 13 kills and posted a team-high .391 attacking percentage.

During the match Murphy registered her 1,000th career kill, becoming the 17th player in school history to reach that milestone.

Trailing two sets to one, Florida rebounded in the fourth and squeaked out a 25-21 win. They would also trail 11-7 in the fifth and final set, a deficit seemingly insurmountable considering it only takes 15 points to win the tiebreaker. Fighting to even things up, the Gators found themselves down 13-11 after Rivers nailed a service ace.

The officials believed UF touched the ball four times on the next point and whistled them for illegal contact, giving FSU a temporary 14-11 lead before they decided to negate the call and play the point over. Florida would go on to tie the set at 13 and eventually win it outright after Jaeckel hit consecutive kills to end the final set 17-15.

The Gators achieved double-digit kills in each set and out-blocked the Seminoles 16.5-10.0. Florida State put forth a superb effort in their upset bid, but Florida was able to overcome some costly errors and mistakes by the officials to win their 29th match of the season and advance in their quest for a National Championship.

Before having to contend with FSU, Florida defeated the South Carolina State Bulldogs (17-23) with a clean 3-0 sweep (25-7, 25-10, 25-12) on Friday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators posted an impressive .586 hitting efficiency as Murphy registered eight kills, 17 assists, two service aces and four digs. Rivers had seven kills and six digs, Bledsoe notched five kills and five blocks, and Jaekel added four kills and two aces.

Florida and Purdue will square off in the Austin Regional on Friday, Dec. 10. at a time yet to be determined. The winner will face either Illinois or Texas in the Elite Eight.

HIGHLIGHTS / END OF MATCH

POST-GAME QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida advances to Sweet 16 after five-set thriller

Three top recruits still sticking with the Gators

Though four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, PA) recently dropped the Florida Gators due to a combination of their performance this season, his desire to be closer to home and the departure of assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney, three of Florida’s current 2011 commitments have recently reaffirmed their stance to join the team next year.

Five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL), four-star running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) each gave the Gators a vote of confidence this week on separate occasions.

“I don’t know where [rumors of my displeasure with Florida] came from. There’s all kinds of people out there that will write anything to make a buzz,” Driskel told The Gainesville Sun recently. “Those [rumors] are 100 percent false. I’m 100 percent [committed] to Florida and I’ll be there in about a month and a half. [The coaches] knew all along that I’m not going anywhere. I’m as solid as can be to Florida.”

“A lot of kids waiver in the process, but I’m 100 percent to Florida,” he said separately on the radio this week. “I have been the whole way. That hasn’t changed.”

Blakely views the Gators’ struggles in 2010 as a better way for him to get on the field sooner than he perhaps may have expected.

“I look at things like this is a great opportunity for me. They need help [on offense] and I want to do what I can next season and beyond,” Blakely told ESPN. “I look at it [Florida's record] and say, ‘Who cares?’ My top two schools were Florida and Auburn. Look at Auburn, they are undefeated. I had a chance to go there and I could change my mind if I wanted to. But I will not because once I committed to the Gators I am a man of my word.

“You know, there are a lot of recruits out there that don’t give Florida a fair look because they are usually too good or because they lost some games and they all think they are going downhill. Every team has a poor year once in a while.”

Waisome is also unfazed by Florida’s recent issues, stating that he has no plans to change his commitment or even look elsewhere.

“I’m pretty much done with where I’m going. I’m firm in my commitment to Florida and I know the chances of me playing early is certainly attainable when I get there,” he told Rivals in an interview. “I like the system better at Florida in what they run and overall have a great comfort level with all the coaches and players.

“It was a tough year for Florida, but that happens even with the best teams. They were also very young at certain positions. Obviously as a corner I do feel I can help out their defense and that’s my goal to play a lot as a freshman next year. Florida played a lot of young guys on the defensive side of the ball and now I have to work to get my chance to play early as well. I’m really excited to be a part of that family and I’m just ready to get to work with the defense. It’s an aggressive defense that is only going to get stronger with the more talent we bring in.”

So while Pagan – a commitment who has been back-and-forth about his decision since the summer – decided to jump ship for a variety of reasons, most (if not the rest) of Florida’s still-growing 2011 signing class appears to be content with their decision to play for the Orange & Blue.

Photo Credit: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

FOUR BITS: Rutgers, bowl game, Moss, offers

1 » Having last squared off on Nov. 17, 2007 in Gainesville, FL, the Florida Gators and Rutgers Scarlet Knights basketball teams will once again compete – this time at the RAC in New Jersey, according to New Jersey News Room. The game will mark a homecoming for Rutgers transfer and current Florida redshirt sophomore guard Mike Rosario, who left the Scarlet Knights after last season when head coach Fred Hill was fired. Rosario will be eligible to play next year after sitting out the 2010-11 season.

2 » Though general opinion right now has the Gators football team headed to the 2010 Gator Bowl, Garry Smits of The Florida Times-Union believes Florida still has a shot at earning a berth to the 2010 Outback Bowl. According to Smits, the Outback Bowl committee – which has certainly played to their own tune over the years – “might like the Florida vs. Penn State game that most observes thought would be the Gator Bowl match-up. The Outback might covet that game for the same reason the Gator Bowl did: strong national TV ratings for a pair of 7-5 teams that still would be a big draw from coast-to-coast.” The Gators would theoretically be chosen over the Mississippi State Bulldogs if they played in the Outback Bowl, a team they lost to at home this season.

3 » As we reported previously on OGGOA, the Oakland Raiders recently signed former first-round pick defensive end Jarvis Moss who was cut by the Denver Broncos just a few weeks ago. In an interview with FOX affiliate KDVR 31 in Denver, Moss recounts his time with the Broncos. “Off and on I felt like I had my chances, but things didn’t always work out,” he said. There were days when I thought to myself, ‘Man I wish I was out there.’ I tried my best, and I really wanted to turn things around and do better, but my number was called when it was. From the day that you come into this league they’re looking to replace you. You’re always looking over your shoulder. I got that feeling when things weren’t going as well in Denver as they should have. You kind of get to thinking maybe they might make a move or shift a guy around. But that was out of my control.”

Moss was moved to outside linebacker when defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (who has since left) took over the Broncos’ defense, but now he is back to playing his natural position with the Raiders. “Everyone has been positive. I am going to play D-end and have my hand down again,” he said. “I’m just trying to get everything on the fly. I thought outside linebacker was a good opportunity, but obviously it didn’t work out in Denver.”

4 » Though only a junior in high school, 2012 defensive end recruit Tyriq McCord (Tampa, FL) has earned his third college scholarship offer – this one from Florida. Considered Jefferson High School’s top player next year, McCord received a visit and offer from Gators recruiting coordinator and running back coach Stan Drayton on Thursday. At 6’4” and 220 lbs., McCord registered 54 tackles and 14 sacks last season and only hopes to improve on those numbers next year. The St. Petersburg Times also reports that Florida is interested in one of Jefferson’s seniors – linebacker Ramik Wilson (Tampa, FL). “[Drayton] said he wondered why [the Gators] hadn’t offered him yet,” head coach Mike Fenton said of Wilson, who registered 68 tackles, 15 sacks and six forced fumbles last year and was also visited by Drayton on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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