12/9: Donovan on PGs, Walker, Harris, Kansas

No. 19 Florida Gators (6-2) head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, one day before his team hosts the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-2) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge. Florida and Kansas will square off on Tuesday at 7 p.m. live on ESPN.

POINT GUARDS WILL PLAY

As was reported by OnlyGators.com last week and confirmed by the Gators on Saturday, senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) has been cleared to play against the Jayhawks. Donovan said on Monday that the player has been “fine” and practicing the last few days without incident. Even though Wilbekin was initially “diagnosed” with a high-ankle sprain, Donovan admitted that the player could have practiced the next day but was held out as a precaution.

Freshman point guard Kasey Hill, who OnlyGators.com also reported would probably see some action as a reserve in his first game back from a high-ankle sprain, has also been cleared by play. Donovan went a bit more in-depth about Hill’s status.

“It’s really hard for me to say how much he will play, will not play. [Sunday] was the first day he’s done some things as it relates to contact. There is some tentativeness there. He’s not in great pain. I think he’s still probably recovering,” he said. “This is the first time he’ll be out there. We’ve been doing individual workouts and those kinds of things with him. For what his role would be in [Tuesday’s] game would be too hard to say, but I would say he’ll be available to be put into the game. …

“There’s really no limitations on Kasey’s playing time from the doctors … but because he’s been out and he’s been out of practice so long – that’s been nearly three weeks right now – I just don’t know what I’m going to get for him. We’ll give him an opportunity. He’ll have another day of practice under his belt. Hopefully he’ll get back to feeling a little bit more comfortable. He feels pretty good right now, and as long as that continues, we’ll use him as we need him.”

COMING SOON: CHRIS WALKER

As OnlyGators.com, citing two sources, reported on Dec. 4, five-star incoming freshman forward Chris Walker has completed his academic requirements and is scheduled to join the Florida basketball program for the first time on Saturday. A third source confirmed Monday that Walker has been told to report to the team Saturday.

Donovan confirmed OnlyGators.com‘s report that Walker’s academic coursework is complete and he is simply awaiting clearance from both by the University of Florida and the NCAA Clearinghouse.

“He’s got to go through an admissions process like any other student here for the second semester,” he said. “Now it’s kind of our of our hands and we’re just waiting to hear back of what the ruling will be in terms of him being a qualifier, being able to start school.”

OnlyGators.com learned last week that Donovan has already been told Walker will be academically cleared and able to practice, hence Saturday being set as his reporting date. Donovan admitted as much, correctly noting that Walker cannot join the team until final exams end for the fall 2013 semester. The last exams will be distributed on Friday.

Continue Reading » 12/9: Donovan on PGs, Walker, Harris, Kansas

Tags: , , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: gymnastics, Floyd, Kansas, Parsons

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics did not conclude its incredible weekend on Saturday after it won the 2013 NCAA Championship, the first NCAA title in program history. Instead, Florida was right back at it on Sunday as its gymnasts competed in individual events with the hopes of bringing additional championships back to Gainesville, FL. Freshman Bridget Sloan, who captured the 2013 NCAA Championship in the all-around on Friday, doubled up with a title in the balance beam (9.900) on Sunday. She actually would have won three individual championships had it not been for junior teammate Alaina Johnson, who edged Sloan 9.9125 to 9.900 in the uneven parallel bars to win a title of her own.

2 » Florida’s national championship-winning gymnastics team will be honored at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center during a special celebration on Monday at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. and access to the event is free. The celebration will be the first held inside the O’Dome for a Gators championship-winning program since basketball won its second of back-to-back titles in 2007. GatorVision.tv will have a live stream of the event for fans outside of Gainesville. OGGOA will tweet a link at 7 p.m.

The Florida school website on Monday posted a terrific feature on head coach Rhonda Faehn, who has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the program in 2002. Though the national title had been elusive for Faehn, she knew that the Gators could be one of the top programs in the country when she took the job. “It was a gold mine just waiting for success,” she told senior writer Scott Carter about Florida. “I felt there was so much potential. Who wouldn’t want to go there? It was undiscovered almost and people needed to see how amazing it was. That’s what I felt for years when I was coaching at other places, that Florida was just incredible.” Added athletic director Jeremy Foley about Fahen: “She built our program. When we hired her, the goal was we wanted to be like Alabama, we wanted to be like Georgia, we wanted to be like Utah, we didn’t understand why we couldn’t be like them. We wanted to be a factor. Look at what she has done. I feel great for her, her staff, and obviously these kids.”

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: gymnastics, Floyd, Kansas, Parsons

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wildcats outwork Gators for upset in Kansas City

A double-digit underdog without a top-25 victory yet this season, the Kansas State Wildcats (9-3) outworked the No. 8/9 Florida Gators (8-2) on both ends of the court on Saturday night as they pulled off an impressive 67-61 upset victory in a neutral site game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.

Kansas State completed its first non-conference win against a top-10 team since 1981 by dominating Florida on the boards (36-27) and holding the visitors to a paltry 26.3 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats also got plenty of help from their bench as reserves scored 21 of their 67 points. Though the Gators dominated paint scoring by posting 32 points including 19 from junior center Patric Young, KSU played solid post defense throughout the night and had C Jordan Henriquez finish with five blocks on the evening.

Young was 8-of-11 with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and was one of two UF players (junior forward Casey Prather) to foul out.

Tied at 14 with 10:51 remaining in the first half, Kansas State took it to Florida on both ends of the court. The Wildcats outscored the Gators 16-4 heading into halftime and jumped out to a 33-23 lead at the break.

Florida only connected on one field goal over the final 8:50 of the period, and the 33 points given up in the first half was the most UF has allowed so far this season.

It only took a few minutes for the Gators to get right back in the game. Florida opened up the second half on a 12-3 run to get within one of Kansas State and knotted the contest at 41 with 13:21 to play on a big three-pointer by senior guard Kenny Boynton.

The Wildcats did not waste time regaining their lead, putting together an 11-2 scoring stretch to retake a 10-point lead with five minutes left in the game. The Gators cut their deficit to five points on two free throws by Young with 2:14 left but were unable to pull closer than that as KSU held on for the big upset.

Kansas State guards Will Spradling and Rodney McGruder combined for 30 points and 12 rebounds. Each went 4-for-12 for the field but combined to make 11-of-14 free throws. KSU took 14 more attempts from the charity stripe than UF.

Boynton and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin each added 11 points for Florida. Boynton’s cold streak continued as he went 4-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from downtown. He is 13-of-51 on field goals and 4-of-32 on threes over the last five games.

The Gators have now lost at least two non-conference games every year since 2006-07 and will likely fall out of the top 15 when the new top-25 polls are released on Monday.

Florida will play one more game before 2012 ends as it travels to Sunrise, FL to take on Air Force in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic next Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gameday: (8) Florida Gators vs. Kansas State

Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD (Mitch Holthus, Fran Fraschilla)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 8 FLORIDA GATORS KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Record: 8-1 Record: 8-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11 | O/U 128

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Kansas State with the lone game played in 2010 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL. UF is 18-12 all-time against current members of the Big 12.
» Four of the Gators’ regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its seven opponents under 50 points.
» UF is 33-2 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is third nationally in scoring defense (50.4 points), eighth in scoring margin (+22.0 points), 12th in rebound margin (+10.8) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (.361).
» The Gators are seventh nationally in fouling, committing 13.0 per game, and 133rd nationally in assists, dishing just 13.6 per game.
» Kansas State is ranked third nationally in three-point defense (.225), 15th in scoring defense (56.1), 19th in rebound margin (+8.4) and 265th in field goal percentage (.408).
» The Wildcats only have two players scoring in double digits and two averaging more than five boards per contest.
» Only six Kansas State players have made a three this year. Of the four players that have shot more than 20, the best shooter is hitting 36.6 percent of his attempts.
» Saturday’s contest is a neutral site game in Kansas City, which is two hours east of Manhattan, KS. The 2010 game played in Sunrise was about four hours south of Gainesville, FL.
» Despite the picture above, UF will be wearing orange alternate jerseys in the game.

Read the rest of the Florida-Kansas State preview…more after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: (8) Florida Gators vs. Kansas State

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Missouri Tigers become 14th SEC member

It’s official. After months of speculation, the Missouri Tigers announced Sunday that they will be leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012 for the 2012-13 athletic season.

The addition of Missouri (and Texas A&M in September) marks the first expansion for the SEC since it added Arkansas and South Carolina and split into divisions in 1991. Though it has yet to be officially announced, the expectation is that Mizzou joins the East division.

“The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC,” said Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”

“The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” Missouri chancellor Brady J. Deaton said. “In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league.”

“I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012.”

GETTING TO KNOW MISSOURI

UNIVERSITY
Established: 1839
Location: Columbia, Missouri
Enrollment: 33,805 (fall 2011)
Campus: 1,372 acres
Colors: Black and “MU gold”
Motto: Let the Welfare of the People be the Supreme Law
President: Dr. Brady J. Deaton
Notes: First public insitutation of higher education west of the Mississippi, member of the Association of American Universities, world’s most powerful university research reactor, one of six public universities in the United States with schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture and law all on one campus

ATHLETICS
Nickname: Tigers
Mascot: Truman the Tiger (named after President Harry S. Truman)
Facilities: Faurot Field (football), Mizzou Arena (basketball), Taylor Stadium (baseball)
Men’s sports: Football, basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, swimming and diving, track and field, wrestling
Women’s sports: Basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball
National titles: 3
Conference titles: 71 (6 in the Big 12)
Band: Marching Mizzou
Previous affiliations: WIUFA, Independent (1890-1892, 1898-1906), Missouri Valley/Big Six/Big Seven/Big Eight, Big 12
Athletic director: Michael Alden

FOOTBALL
First season: 1890
Stadium capacity: 71,004
All-time record: 622–515–52 (.545)
Traditions: Invented homecoming, Harpo’s goal posts
National titles: 1 “claimed”
Conference titles: 15 – 1893-95, 1909, 1913, 1919, 1924-25, 1927, 1939, 1941-42, 1945, 1960, 1969
Record vs. Florida: 1-0 (W 20-18 in 1966 Sugar Bowl)
Heisman Trophy winners: 0
College Football Hall of Fame: coaches – 5, players – 7
Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2 – Kellen Winslow, Roger Wehrli

Tags: , , , , ,

Texas A&M Aggies become 13th SEC member

It’s official. After months of speculation and some recent litigation, the Texas A&M Aggies announced Sunday that they will be leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012 for the 2012-13 athletic season.

The addition of Texas A&M marks the first expansion for the SEC since it added Arkansas and South Carolina and split into divisions in 1991.

“The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” said Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”

“The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve,” Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said. “We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference. This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the [SEC] gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”

The two-step process, which included SEC presidents voting to extend an invitation and Texas A&M officials accepting the invitation, was officially completed Sunday because the threat of a lawsuit from some other Big 12 schools stalled the process.

“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally.”

The Aggies will now become the SEC’s 13th member and will likely join the conference’s West division, leaving the league unbalanced at least in the short term.

Consequently the Big 12 is now left with only nine teams after Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) left the former 12-team conference over a year ago.

The Big 12 has made adding a 10th member a priority, while the SEC has said it will take time to decide on and invite a 14th team. Should the SEC add a team that would geographically fit in the West division, Auburn would likely switch to the East.

GETTING TO KNOW TEXAS A&M

UNIVERSITY
Established: 1871
Location: College Station, Texas
A&M? Agricultural and Mechanical
Enrollment: 46,522 (spring 2011)
Campus: 5,500 acres
Colors: Maroon and white
Official greetings: “Howdy!” “Gig ’em
President: Dr. R. Bowen Loftin
Notes: Receives land, sea and space grants from the government; first public institution of higher education in the state; provides more commissioned officers to the U.S. Armed Forces than any other non-service academy college

ATHLETICS
Nickname: Aggies
Mascot: Reveille (collie)
Facilities: Kyle Field (football), Reed Arena (basketball), Olsen Field (baseball)
Men’s sports: Football, basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field
Women’s sports: Basketball, softball, cross country, equestrian, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball
National titles: 12 (not counting equestrian)
Conference titles: 139 (not counting fencing)
Highest Director’s Cup finish: No. 6 (2009-10)
Fanbase name: 12th Man
Band: Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band
Previous affiliations: Southwest, Big 12
Athletic director: Bill Byrne

FOOTBALL
First season: 1894
Stadium capacity: 83,002
All-time record (as of 2010): 674-443-48 (.599)
Traditions: Standing all game; Midnight Yell; Bonfire
National titles: 1 – 1939
SWC titles: 17 – 1917, 1919, 1921, 1925, 1927, 1939, 1940-41, 1956, 1967, 1975, 1985-87, 1991-93
Big 12 titles: 1 – 1998
Highest Top 25 finish (post-1990): AP – No. 7, Coaches – No. 6 (1992)
Record vs. Florida: 1-1 (L 6-42, Oct. 13, 1962; W 37-14 Jan. 2, 1977)
Heisman Trophy winners: 1 – John David Crow (1957)
College Football Hall of Fame: coaches – 5, players – 10
Pro Football Hall of Fame: 1 – Yale Lary

Tags: , , , ,

Gators at No. 22 in 2011 AP preseason poll

The 2010 Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners earned the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press preseason poll released Saturday with the Florida Gators being slotted in the bottom fifth of the rankings at No. 22.

Oklahoma received 36 of 60 possible first-place votes with Alabama (17), Oregon (4), LSU (1) and Boise State (2) rounding out the top five.

Other Southeastern Conference teams ranked by the AP this preseason include 2010 SEC East champion South Carolina (No. 12), Arkansas (No. 15), Georgia (No. 19), Mississippi State (No. 20) and 2010 SEC West champion Auburn (No. 23).

The Gators were ranked No. 23 by USA Today in their coaches preseason poll.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

Florida began the 2010 season at No. 4 in the AP top 25 and No. 3 in the USA Today poll but finished unranked after going 8-5 (4-4 SEC).

Tags: , , ,

Gators at No. 23 in USA Today preseason poll

The 2010 Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners earned the No. 1 spot in the USA Today coaches preseason poll released Thursday with the Florida Gators being slotted in the bottom fifth of the rankings at No. 23.

Oklahoma received 42 of 59 possible first-place votes with Alabama (13), Oregon (2), LSU (2) and Florida State rounding out the top five.

Other Southeastern Conference teams ranked by USA Today this preseason include 2010 SEC East champion South Carolina (No. 12), Arkansas (No. 14), 2010 SEC West champion Auburn (No. 19), Mississippi State (No. 20) and Georgia (No. 22).

Florida began the 2010 season at No. 3 in the USA Today poll and No. 4 in the Associated Press top 25 but finished unranked after going 8-5 (4-4 SEC).

Tags: , , ,

 Page 2 of 3 « 1  2  3 »