2010 NCAA Tournament Gameday – First Round: No. 10 Florida Gators vs. No. 7 BYU Cougars

Location: Ford Center – Oklahoma City, OK [Capacity: 18,203]
Time: 12:20 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
OGGOA Live Online Video: Florida vs. Brigham Young
OGGOA Live Updates: via Twitter

No. 10 Florida Gators No. 7 Brigham Young Cougars
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Dave Rose
Record: 21-12, 9-7 SEC Record: 29-5, 13-3 MWC
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mountain West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +5; O/U 146.5

Tournament Team Previews from ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi:

HISTORY:
» Florida basketball is making their 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, their first since winning the second of back-to-back National Championships in 2007.
» The Gators have reached four Final Fours, three of which have come under head coach Billy Donovan this century (2000, 2006, 2007).
» Florida and BYU have met twice, with the Gators falling to the Cougars both times. The teams have never met in the postseason and have not squared off since 1991.
» The only two current Florida players with NCAA Tournament and Final Four experience are senior forward Dan Werner and redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin. Werner was a bench player for the Gators’ 2007 National Championship team, while Macklin played for Georgetown during the same Final Four.

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior forward Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in nine of his last 11 games and has four double-doubles on the season. He has also helped run the point and dish the ball while surpassing over 1,000 career points on March 11.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 14-4 when the redshirt junior center finishes in double figures and 7-8 when he does not.
» The dynamic duo of freshman guard Kenny Boynton and sophomore point guard Erving Walker…who combined for 42 points in the Gators’ last outing and are first and second, respectively, on the team in scoring. Boynton is eight treys shy (67) of breaking the school’s freshman three-point shooting record.
» Junior F Alex Tyus…who returned to his dominating ways with a season-high 24 points in the SEC Tournament against Auburn before struggling in the quarterfinals against Mississippi State. Tyus also reached the 1,000-point plateau this season.
» BYU guard Jimmer Fredette…who is easily the team’s most explosive player, averaging 21.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. He shoots almost 45 percent from downtown and hits 90 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. Fredette is the country’s 12th-leading scorer.
» The Cougars’ trio of other double-digit scorers – Jackson Emery, Tyler Haws and Jonathan Tavernari…who combine to score 34.2 of the team’s 83.0 points per game.

STREAKS:
» Florida has won 12-straight NCAA Tournament games (last loss in 2005). They can tie Duke (which won 13-straight between 1991-93) with a win Thursday against BYU.
» The Gators are 22-7 in the NCAA Tournament under Donovan and 29-12 all-time.
» Florida is 5-6 all-time against the Mountain West Conference and 0-2 versus BYU, losing in 1959 and 1991.
» The Gators have not played in Oklahoma City, OK, since 1995, but the team is 2-0 all-time in the city.
» With 21 regular season victories, Florida reached 20+ wins for the 12th consecutive season. The Gators are only one of six schools in the nation to accomplish this feat every year since the 1998-99 season.
» Though they fell to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, Florida is 13-5 when out-rebounding the opposition this season.
» The Gators have made a three-pointer in a school-record 611 consecutive games beginning Jan. 11, 1992.
» BYU lost their sole game against a ranked opponent this season, falling 83-81 to then-No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 27. Florida is 2-5 against ranked opponents, defeating then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 27 and then-No. 17 Tennessee on Feb. 23.
» The Cougars have the most NCAA Tournament appearances in the event’s history (24) without reaching the Final Four.
» Falling in the first round each of the last three years, BYU has lost seven-straight NCAA Tournament games.
» However, the Cougars are playing better than they have in years, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (83 points per game) and scoring margin (17.8 points), while leading the country in free throw shooting (78.6 percent) and placing third in three-point efficiency (41.9 percent).

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Gators speak on 2010 NCAA Tournament berth

As one would expect, the Florida Gators basketball team was ecstatic when they learned they had earned a bid in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. After practice on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan and some members of the No. 10-seed Gators met with the press to discuss exactly what went on Sunday night and how they are preparing for the Brigham Young Cougars on Thursday in Oklahoma City, OK.

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» Of course, you can also go ahead and participate in some college basketball betting as the tournament provides plenty of opportunities to make some money. Even if you are not a Gators fan, you can’t deny this is the best time of the year to watch some intense, great, high-speed, amusing basketball. March Madness is here and it is time to have some fun.

Read the team’s statements about making the tournament after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators speak on 2010 NCAA Tournament berth

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Florida Gators invited to 2010 NCAA Tournament

Florida Gators basketball (21-12, 9-7 SEC) has earned a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, their first in three seasons. Announced during the NCAA Selection Show live on CBS Sunday night, Florida – a No. 10 seed – will face the No 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars (29-5, 13-3 MWC) of the Mountain West Conference in first-round action in Oklahoma City, OK, on Thursday.

The Gators, trying for their 13th-straight NCAA Tournament victory, are placed in the West region and could advance to face No. 2-seed Kansas State or No. 15-seed North Texas in the second round on Sat., March 20. Syracuse earned the region’s No. 1 seed.

Head coach Billy Donovan: ”We’re very, very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’m most excited for our players having a chance to experience this, for most of them this is something they haven’t been through yet. They’ve worked so hard from day one, and it’s great to see them rewarded.

Junior forward Chandler Parsons: “It was a stressful 48 hours. We don’t want to go and play one game, we want to prove we’re deserving of being there.”

NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Dan Guerrero: “It’s not necessarily about how you finish, but it’s what you do during the course of the year.”

Earning a No. 10-seed indicates that UF was not as close to the bubble as many speculated. That or Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive had plenty of pull. Florida, along with Minnesota, Utah State and UTEP earned bids while Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois were among the final cuts.

H/t Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel for the quotes.

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Post-game comments and Gators’ bubble watch

It should be no surprise that members of the Florida Gators basketball team were depressed and dismayed following their 75-69 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs Friday night in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Below are some comments from the players who are concerned about a berth in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, courtesy of the Palm Beach Post and Orlando Sentinel.

» Junior forward Chandler Parsons on the loss: “It’s terrible. It’s awful. My first two years, we had a feeling we weren’t going to make (the NCAA Tournament). I think this year we have a much better chance, but it’s completely out of our hands. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed until then. I’m concerned, real concerned, because it’s not in my hands. I can’t control anything, coach (Billy) Donovan can’t, our school can’t. So I think everyone is just concerned and anxious and just hoping.”

» Parsons continued: “It’s a terrible feeling not knowing because it’s not in our hands at all. All we can do is go back to Gainesville and hope and keep our fingers crossed. I think we feel as a team we deserve to be there. We’ve had some good wins.”

» Freshman guard Kenny Boynton on what went wrong: “They wanted it more tonight, it was obvious. Reality kicked in, we tried to come back, but it was too late.”

» Senior F Dan Werner on falling behind: “You can never get by down by that much and expect to come back on a good team.”

» Werner on his miscue (flubbing pass down four with 1:25 left and a clear lane to the hoop to cut the deficit to two): “I saw that there was no one at the basket so I was going to try to run in and get an easy lay-up. When I started running I guess I kind of misjudged the ball. Stuff like that happens.”

» Head coach Billy Donovan on the team’s chances: “I think we’ve played a very, very competitive schedule. We’ve had some really, really good quality wins. If that’s good enough, then so be it. We’ll wait and see what happens on Sunday.”

Florida’s win Thursday against the Auburn Tigers appeared impressive enough to earn them a berth in March Madness, but the Gators must still keep an eye on their competition also on the bubble. While conference tournaments had been kind to UF up to this point, Friday night saw a number of bubble teams find success against top-ranked competition. Below is OGGOA‘s latest bubble watch update:

» Mississippi State (22-10) defeated Florida 75-69
» Dayton (20-12) lost to Xavier 78-73
» Rhode Island (23-8) defeated Saint Louis 63-47
» Georgia Tech (21-11) defeated No. 19 Maryland 69-64 (considered a lock)
» Illinois (19-13) defeated No. 18 Wisconsin 58-54
» Ole Miss (21-10) lost to No. 13 Tennessee 76-65
» San Diego State (24-8) defeated No. 8 New Mexico 72-69 (considered a lock)
» Minnesota (19-12) defeated No. 11 Michigan State 72-67
» Washington (22-9) defeated Stanford 79-64

Additionally, ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has kept Florida at No. 1 on his list of the final five at-large teams to qualify for the tournament after their loss Friday. Lunardi projects that it would take additional wins by Minnesota or Mississippi State or unexpected teams winning their conference tournaments to knock any of his final five (Florida, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island) off the bubble.

Selection Sunday will air March 14 beginning at 6 p.m. on CBS. The NCAA Selection Committee will choose five at-large teams to join the 39 locks and 21 automatic qualifiers already in the tournament. OGGOA will provide full coverage of the event.

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Gators leave doubts, fall to Bulldogs 75-69

Down a game-high 19 points with 13:29 left to play, the Florida Gators (21-12) rallied with a strong 14-0 run but still fell short, losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-10) 75-69 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

Led by a 23-point effort from freshman guard Kenny Boynton, the Gators’ backcourt scored 48 of the team’s 69 total points. Sophomore point guard Erving Walker contributed 19 points on 6-12 shooting while going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Boynton finished 4-of-7 from downtown and 8-for-16 overall with a team-high three assists.

Florida began the game slow, missing their first five shots and allowing Mississippi State to get out to a 10-0 lead. A layup by Walker almost four minutes in ended the drought. The Gators attempted an early comeback, using a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 13-9, but the Bulldogs answered back and pulled ahead to a 15-point lead halfway through the period. UF finished the half with its backcourt accounting for 25 of its 28 points.

Up a game-high 19 points, 58-39, with 13:20 to left on the clock, MSU looked to have the game locked up. That was until Florida exploded on a 14-0 run to close within five as Mississippi State was held scoreless for six minutes. It would not be enough for the Gators, who would eventually get down to a four-point deficit on a Walker free throw with 1:25 to play. Florida had a chance to get within two with plenty of time left, but a mishandled pass by senior forward Dan Werner – who had a wide-open lane to the hoop in front of him – turned the ball (and perhaps the game) over to the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State shot over 66 percent from both the field and downtown for the majority of the game, but finished 57.1 percent and 50 percent from the respective locations compared to 43.6 percent and 39.1 percent for the Gators. Florida out-rebounded MSU 32-20, mostly due to the majority of the Bulldogs’ baskets going into the hoop.

Mississippi State guard Barry Stewart led the way with a team-high 17 points as F Jarvis Varnado dominated the paint with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, four rebounds and four big blocks. In all, five Bulldogs finished in double figures, with G Ravern Johnson adding 12 and G Dee Bost and F Kodi Augustus contributing 10 apiece.

Florida junior F Alex Tyus scored five points one day after a season-high 24-point performance Thursday against Auburn, redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin added three with his first bucket coming with 11:23 left in the game and junior F Chandler Parsons added 10 points with a team-high seven rebounds.

“They wanted it more tonight, it was obvious,” Boynton said after the game.

Friday’s loss was UF’s first to an SEC West opponent this season.

All that is left for the Gators is to wait for the NCAA Selection Committee to make its decision on whether or not they are worthy enough to earn a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday begins on March 14 at 6 p.m. on CBS. OGGOA will provide full coverage of the event.

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

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2010 SEC Tournament Quarterfinals Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Location: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 19,395]
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360.com
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators Mississippi State Bulldogs
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Rick Stansbury
Record: 22-11, 9-7 SEC Record: 21-10, 9-7 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: OFF

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior forward Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in eight of his last ten games and has two double-doubles in those contests. He has also helped run the point and scored 18 points with 12 rebounds and six assists in Florida’s first meeting with Mississippi State.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 14-4 when the redshirt junior center finishes in double figures. Macklin has achieved this mark in six of the eight seven games and finished with 20 points earlier this season against the Bulldogs.
» Junior F Alex Tyus…who returned to his dominating ways with a season-high 24 points Thursday against Auburn after struggling to play consistently since Feb. 2.
» Mississippi State F Jarvis Varnado…who is averaging 13.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game this season. In his first meeting against the Gators, he scored 16 points and grabbed 13 boards but only registered one block.
» The Bulldogs’ trio of guards – Ravern Johnson, Dee Bost and Barry Stewart…who all average double-digits and combine to score 37.9 of the team’s 72.8 points per game.

STREAKS:
» Florida leads the all-time series against Mississippi State 57-47, most recently adding a 69-62 win in Gainesville, FL, on Feb. 6. This is the fifth time the two teams will meet in the SEC Tournament (first time since 2005), having split the previous four 2-2.
» Florida has gone 7-0 against the SEC West this season.
» The Gators have won three prior SEC Tournament titles (2005-2007). They won the 2006 title at the site of this year’s tourney and are 5-2 all-time in Bridgestone Arena.
» Though they failed to do so against Auburn, Florida is 13-4 when out-rebounding the opposition this season.
» The Gators have made a three-pointer in a school-record 610 consecutive games beginning Jan. 11, 1992.
» Florida is 233-40 when forcing more turnovers than its opponents under Donovan.
» The Gators are 242-34 under Donovan when holding opponents to 70 points or less.
» Parsons became the 45th member of UF’s 1,000-point club Thursday night.
» Opponents are shooting just 31.5 percent from three-point range against Florida.
» The Bulldogs score 1.1 points more than the Gators on average while allowing 0.7 points less than Florida per game.
» Mississippi is 1-3 against ranked opponents this season, with their sole win coming against Ole Miss 80-75 on Jan. 9.

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Gators strengthen NCAA bid with win over Tigers

Coming off three consecutive losses, the Florida Gators were looking to strengthen their case for a berth in the 2010 NCAA Tournament Thursday night against the Auburn Tigers in the opening round of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

Junior forward Alex Tyus helped them do just that, scoring a team-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting to propel the Gators (21-11, 9-7 SEC) to a 78-69 win over the Tigers (15-17, 6-10 SEC) and a berth in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

Florida, looking to avenge a loss to Auburn in the quarterfinals of the 2009 SEC Tournament, was carried by Tyus, junior F Chandler Parsons and redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin in the first half. The trio combined to go 13-for-19 from the field while scoring 33 of the Gators’ 40 first-half points. Tyus continued his excellent play in the second half and was joined by freshman guard Kenny Boynton, who nailed three consecutive three-pointers and finished with nine points.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida vs. Auburn SEC Tournament game story…
Continue Reading » Gators strengthen NCAA bid with win over Tigers

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2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament Rd. 1 Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Auburn Tigers

Location: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 19,395]
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360.com
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators Auburn Tigers
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Jeff Lebo
Record: 20-11, 9-7 SEC Record: 15-16, 6-10 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5.5; O/U 143.5

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior forward Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games and has two double-doubles in those contests. He has also helped run the point and scored 17 points with six rebounds and four assists in Florida’s first meeting with Auburn.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 13-4 when the redshirt junior transfer center finishes in double figures. Macklin has achieved this mark in five of the last seven games.
» Bench production by freshman F Erik Murphy and sophomore guard Ray Shipman…who combined for 18 points in limited time against No. 3 Kentucky.
» Auburn F Lucas Hargrove…who leads his team with 6.9 rebounds per game while also averaging 12.9 points.
» Tigers’ guards DeWayne Reed and Tay Walker…who combine for 30 of the team’s 75.9 points each game. Walker also shoots 42 percent from downtown.

STREAKS:
» Auburn leads the all-time series against Florida 87-69; however, the Gators have won 11 of the last 12 meetings including a 78-70 victory last month in Gainesville.
» The Tigers’ only win in that stretch was a 61-58 win in the 2009 SEC Tournament quarterfinals, which knocked UF out of contention for the NCAA Tournament.
» Florida went 6-0 against the SEC West this season.
» The Gators have won three prior SEC Tournament titles (2005-2007). They won the 2006 title at the site of this year’s tourney and are 5-2 all-time in Bridgestone Arena.
» Though they lost their last two games to the SEC’s top two teams, Florida out-rebounded both opponents and remain 13-4 when out-rebounding the opposition.
» Parsons needs only six points to reach 1,000 for his career.
» The Gators have made a three-pointer in a school-record 609 consecutive games beginning Jan. 11, 1992.
» Florida is 233-40 when forcing more turnovers than its opponents under Donovan.
» The Gators are 241-34 under Donovan when holding opponents to 70 points or less.
» Opponents are shooting just 32.2 percent from three-point range against Florida.
» Auburn is 2-9 away from home this season.
» The Tigers score 4.4 points more than the Gators on average but also give up 9.0 more points per game than Florida.
» Auburn has faced only three ranked opponents all season and have lost those games by an average of 13.7 points.

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