FOUR BITS: Nelson, Donovan, gymnastics, Foley

1 » New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson made headlines Monday by tweeting out a picture of himself teaching Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo how to throw an American football while the Portuguese National Team was working out at the training facility. But Nelson would not have even been at practice had he not been cleared by the Jets after being quarantined away from the team. Nelson, who does a ton of charity work in the offseason, got back from Haiti a few weeks ago but came down with a major illness – 104-degree fever and strep throat – after getting bit by a mosquito while out of the country. He rejoined his teammates last week and is now fighting for the No. 2 wideout job. Coming back in 2013 after tearing his ACL in the first game of 2012, Nelson bounced around before landing with the Jets. Catching passes from rookie quarterback Geno Smith, Nelson finished with 36 receptions for 423 yards and two touchdowns.


Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Nelson, Donovan, gymnastics, Foley

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Florida Gators baseball edges Kentucky 6-5, advances to SEC Tournament title game

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Overcoming three elimination games in as many days, No. 1 seed Florida Gators (40-20) advanced to the finals of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Saturday with a 6-5 win over the No. 9 seed Kentucky Wildcats (35-23) at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama.

Florida rallied late in a back-and-forth contest with junior third baseman Josh Tobias (2/3, RBI, 2 R) knocking in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth to pave the way for sophomore right-hander Eric Hanhold (3.1 IP, 2 H, 4 K) to collect the win in a stellar relief appearance.

The Gators looked to be in danger of getting blown out by the Wildcats in the early going, but Kentucky was simply unable to pile on the runs and put the game out of reach. A lineout double play killed UK’s momentum in the first inning, as did leaving the bases full in the second. UF was fortunate to only be down 3-0.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators baseball edges Kentucky 6-5, advances to SEC Tournament title game

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Cats knock Gators baseball into losers bracket

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

Entering the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and the league’s outright regular season champion, Florida Gators baseball (37-20) dug itself an early hole and eventually dropped its first game of the event 4-2 to the No. 9 seed Kentucky Wildcats (34-22).

A subpar start from Florida freshman right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) resulted in two quick runs for Kentucky in the contest’s first frame.

Freshman designated hitter Peter Alonso (1/4, RBI) cut the Gators’ deficit in half with an RBI ground out in the second, but Shore gave up his first home run of the season in the top of the third inning to Wildcats third baseman Max Kuhn. It was a two-run shot that extended UK’s lead to 4-1.

Continue Reading » Cats knock Gators baseball into losers bracket

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Florida opens with two games on SEC Network

The SEC Network on Thursday announced its schedule for the first four weeks of the 2014 season with two of the 16 games set to feature the Florida Gators.

Though a time and network affiliation have not yet been released for Florida’s season-opening contest against Idaho on Saturday, August 30, the Gators will be featured in late games on the SEC Network during both the second and third weeks of the season.

Florida will host the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday, September 6 at 4:00 p.m. and open league play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m.

In scheduling the Gators for these later games, the SEC Network has given UF its first post-3:30 p.m. kickoff times in the month of September since 2011, as pointed out by SB Nation blog AlligatorArmy.com. Florida has only started five total regular-season games after 3:30 p.m. over the last two seasons.

Now that ESPN and CBS are the sole holders of all SEC football rights, every Gators game is guaranteed to be broadcast nationally – availability dependent on your cable/satellite provider – in 2014.

Seeing as CBS does not begin broadcasting SEC games until later in the season, Florida’s opener against Idaho will likely be on an ESPN network.

SEC Network is currently only available on AT&T U-Verse, DISH Network and Google Fiber though deals with most major cable/satellite companies are expected.

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Florida Gators end 2013-14 season ranked No. 3

The Florida Gators (36-3) were bumped down to No. 3 in the final 2013-14 edition of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll after falling on Saturday to the eventual national champion and new No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies (32-8) in the Final Four of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

UF entered the tournament as the No. 1 team in the country and earned the event’s top overall seed, advancing to the Final Four for the first time since 2007 but falling two wins short of the national championship. UConn earned its second victory over Florida this season on the way to its title.

Kentucky (29-11) checked at No. 2 – and even received a first-place vote from the coaches – after falling 60-54 in the title game. The Gators beat the Wildcats three times with Florida winning those games by an average of 10 points.

The Gators at 36-3 finished the 2013-14 season with the best record in program history. Florida also swept the Southeastern Conference Championships, winning the regular-season title for the seventh time and tournament crown for the fourth time.

UF finished 9-3 against teams in the final top 25.


Via TheBigLead.com

Florida’s opponents in italics. Wins in blue; losses in red.

USA TODAY COACHES’ POLL
This Week 1-5: UConn (30), Kentucky (1), Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona
6-10: Michigan, Wichita State, Michigan State, Louisville, Virginia
11-15: Iowa State, San Diego State, Villanova, Kansas, UCLA
16-20: Duke, Syracuse, Baylor, Dayton, Creighton
21-25: North Carolina, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Stanford, Saint Louis

Check out the Gators’ week-to-week top 25 rankings…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators end 2013-14 season ranked No. 3

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FOUR BITS: UConn wins, One Shining Moment, Orange & Blue Debut, Gator Growl

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.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: UConn wins, One Shining Moment, Orange & Blue Debut, Gator Growl

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Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida Gators top Kentucky 61-60, win SEC Tournament Championship

Leading from wire-to-wire despite seeing its lead cut to one late in the contest, No. 1 Florida Gators basketball (32-2) won its 26th-straight game and captured the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship with a 61-60 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (24-10) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

With the victory, Florida swept the SEC titles for the first time since 2007, won its fourth SEC Tournament title and swept Kentucky 3-0 in a single season for the first time in school history. The Gators have also won 31 of their last 32 games.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: After missing the front end of consecutive one-and-one chances with 23 seconds remaining, Florida played superb defense against Kentucky on the game’s final possession. The Gators led by one point with 14 seconds left and were able to hold off the Wildcats as James Young slipped and lost the ball after receiving a pass from Aaron Harrison in hopes of taking the game’s final shot.

Prominent players: The Gators had a different player step up in each half with sophomore guard Michael Frazier II scoring 11 of Florida’s first 12 points and senior center Patric Young lighting up in the second half with nine points of his own. The players combined to shoot 11-for-17 from the field, each finishing with 14 points and five boards. Young added three blocks.

Significant stretch: Florida led by 15 with 11:03 to play, but Kentucky finally found an answer with a 14-0 run to nearly erase the Gators’ advantage, leaving it at just one point with 6:16 to play. UF went scoreless for a stretch of 5:55 during UK’s run, ending it with a three from Frazier. Florida never lost its lead, however, with the Gators earning a wire-to-wire victory over the Wildcats.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida Gators top Kentucky 61-60, win SEC Tournament Championship

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Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament Championship: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA [Capacity: 26,000]
Time: 3:15 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 108/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: GameWatchESPN.com | TrophyWatchESPN.com
Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(1) FLORIDA GATORS KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: John Calipari
Record: 31-2 Record: 24-9
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6 | O/U: OFF

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title earned the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament, earning two byes and playing its first game Friday in quarterfinal action. The championship is the program’s second-straight title, third in the last four seasons, seventh overall and fifth outright.
» The Wildcats advanced to the finals after pulling off a 70-58 victory over Georgia.
» UF is 40-45 all-time in the SEC Tournament with a 25-14 record under Donovan and three-straight SEC Tournament Championships from 2005-07. The Gators are 3-6 in their nine SEC Tournament finals appearances, 3-3 under Donovan.
» Kentucky leads Florida 94-36 in the all-time series with the Wildcats also holding a 24-16 mark over the Gators since Donovan took over the program. UF is 3-8 all-time in neutral site games against UK (1-3 under Donovan).
» Donovan is 4-8 against Calipari after winning in three of their last four meetings.
» The Gators defeated the Wildcats 69-59 on Feb. 15 in Lexington, KY and 84-65 on March 8 in Gainesville, FL. Florida is looking to beat Kentucky three times in a single season for the first time in history. UK has not lost thrice in the same season to a team since 1979 (Tennessee).
» UF enters Saturday’s tournament final on a program-record 25-game winning streak and at 18-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 29 wins were also the most the Gators have captured in a single regular season. Florida has won 30 of its last 31 games.
» The Gators are the first team in SEC history to go 18-0 in league play. UF is also the first team from a major conference, since Indiana in 1976, to go 18-0 in league play.
» Florida has gone two-straight seasons without losing at home, holding a 32-0 record since the start of the 2012-13 campaign (17-0 in conference games).
» The Gators have won nine-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» Florida is 82-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 14-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 11-2 in true road games this campaign with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. Florida lost those contests by a combined seven points. UF is also 4-0 in neutral-site games this campaign.
» 2013-14 was the first time that Florida has ended the regular season ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Gators have achieved a No. 1 ranking in four separate seasons and currently hold a 20-5 record playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida’s senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.
» The Gators have won 30+ games prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Continue Reading » Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament Championship: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats

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