The Silver Lining: 2013-14 Florida Gators were tough to beat but easily defined

Some may say they can’t or won’t, but you can be sure Florida’s players and coaches will tune in to the national championship game on Monday.

And when they turn on the television or stream the game from another device, the Gators will be sitting in Gainesville, FL watching a team they beat three times, an eight-seed that entered the tournament unranked in the Associated Press top 25 poll, compete against a seven-seed that bookended UF’s school-record 30-game winning streak with a pair of losses and was one of just two opponents to hand them a defeat this season.

Florida was supposed to earn itself a storybook ending to a near-perfect season by getting revenge on UConn and moving on to either do the same against Wisconsin or defeat Kentucky for the fourth time in one season.

Not anymore.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining: 2013-14 Florida Gators were tough to beat but easily defined

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4 BITS: Every, women’s basketball, gymnastics

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Matt Every on Sunday clinched his first-ever PGA Tour victory, winning the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, FL. Every, whose third-round 66 vaulted him into the lead, finished -13 for the tournament and edged Keegan Bradley by a single stroke. The victory results in him receiving earnings of $1.12 million (more than he has made in the rest of his career, combined), 500 FedEx Cup points and an automatic qualification to the 2014 Masters in April. A native of Daytona Beach, FL, Every played at Bay Hill dozens of times throughout his life and long dreamed of winning a PGA Tour event at the course, which is located about an hour from where he grew up.

At Florida from 2003-06, Every was a four-time All-American and three-time first-team All-SEC selection. He is the second former Gators golfer to capture a PGA Tour event title in as many years after Billy Horschel won the 2013 Zurich Classic last April.

Continue Reading » 4 BITS: Every, women’s basketball, gymnastics

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SEC Tournament Championship in words: Florida Gators past and present talk UF’s fourth title

No. 1 Florida Gators basketball on Sunday became the first team in Southeastern Conference history to go 21-0 in its league games, wrapping up sole possession of the conference crowns with a 61-60 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats for the 2014 SEC Tournament Championship.

Gators past and present had plenty to say about Florida’s effort on Sunday, which clinched the fourth SEC Tournament title in program history and the first since UF won three-straight from 2005-07. takes a look at everything that was said before, during and after the contest through the eyes of some of the people that know the team the best.

Continue Reading » SEC Tournament Championship in words: Florida Gators past and present talk UF’s fourth title

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Florida Gators (32-2) rewarded with No. 1 overall seed in 2014 NCAA Tournament

Florida Gators basketball (32-2) has earned the No. 1 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament after a hard-fought season that included winning the regular-season 2014 Southeastern Conference Championship and 2014 SEC Tournament Championship on Sunday.

The Gators will enter the tournament on a program-record 26-game winning streak and have been victorious in 31 of their last 32 games. Florida this season was the first team in league history to go 18-0 in SEC play and became the first team from a major conference to achieve that mark since 1976. UF also became the first SEC team to go 21-0 in league games, including its three tournament victories.

As announced during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, the Gators have been placed in the South Region and will face the 16-seed – the winner of a Tuesday play-in game between Albany and Mount Saint Mary’s (6:40 p.m., truTV) – in second-round action at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on Thursday, March 20.

The Gators and their second-round competitor will tip off at approximately 4:05 p.m., 30 minutes after the first game in Orlando, FL concludes. The contest will air live on TBS with Brian Anderson and Dan Bonner on the call.

Florida could advance to face eight-seed Colorado (23-11) or nine-seed Pittsburgh (25-9) on Saturday in third-round action. Other notable teams in UF’s region include two-seed Kansas (24-9), three-seed Syracuse (27-5), four-seed UCLA (26-8), five-seed VCU (26-8), six-seed Ohio State (25-9) and seven-seed New Mexico (27-6).

The Gators are the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history, the first coming in 2007 when Florida won the second of its back-to-back national titles.


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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. 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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3/10: Donovan preps Gators for SEC Tournament, offers suggestion for NCAA Tournament

No. 1 Florida Gators basketball (29-2, 18-0 SEC) concluded the regular season as the Southeastern Conference champions and now looks ahead to the 2014 SEC Tournament, which the team is set to compete in beginning with quarterfinal action on Friday. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday to his team’s focus heading into the tournament.


Most of the records that the Gators have broken this season are ones the team previously held during its back-to-back national championship campaigns. Florida looks earn another “first since 2007” this week when it competes in the SEC Tournament and tries to take home both crowns in a single season.

“The regular season is over with. Everybody in the league starts out and it’s 0-0. It’s kind of a new season, so to speak, over a five-day event,” said Donovan on Monday. “We have some time to prepare and get ourselves better. We will take on with the next challenge at a neutral site against teams that we might not have seen in some time, teams that have gotten better and improved. I think our guys are excited.

“All that really matters is the first game that we play on Friday. That’s all that matters right now. We don’t know who we’re going to play, so it’s a little bit of a unique situation. At this time of the year you always have an idea of who we’re playing next and you can start the preparation. That’s not the case here. With this tournament, we play the winner of that game on Thursday [Missouri vs. Texas A&M] and we’ll have to make sure we’re really ready to play. The scouting part of it is hard because you’re not going to find out who you’re going to play until late that afternoon on Thursday.”

Donovan has decided not to have the Gators over-prepare for that unknown opponent. Florida took Sunday and Monday off of practice but will be on the court Tuesday-Thursday before heading to Atlanta, GA. The goal is to keep Florida “energized, excited and enthusiastic” while making the team aware of trends that it can either continue or eliminate over the course of the week.

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Florida men’s swimming, women’s track & field join Gators basketball with SEC Championships

In total the Florida Gators brought home three 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships over the weekend with the top-ranked men’s swimming and women’s track & field programs joining the basketball team as league title winners.

UF men’s swimming repeated as conference champions, topping Auburn 1440.0-1280.5 at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, GA to capture the program’s second-straight and 35th overall SEC title. The accomplishment ranks it second all-time to Kentucky basketball (45) for most team crowns in league history. The Gators won 28 titles in a 41-year span from 1953-93 but suffered without one for 19-straight years until taking over the SEC once again in 2013.

Redshirt senior Sebastien Rousseau led the way for Florida, becoming the 12th male UF swimmer to win the Commissioner’s Trophy (most total points). He was also honored as SEC Male Swimmer of the Year for his overall achievements. Rousseau won three 200-yard individual SEC titles in freestyle, individual medley and butterfly, setting a league record in the latter event by finishing the swim in 1:41.07.

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Donovan keeping Florida on the edge of glory

Extending records and setting new marks seemingly every time they step on the court, No. 1 Florida Gators basketball at 27-2 overall and 16-0 in league play has compiled the best start through 29 games in program history.

The Gators started by setting school records for consecutive wins at home, streaks that are up to 31-straight against all competition and 16-in-a-row when taking on Southeastern Conference opponents.

Next up were the aforementioned single-season records with UF having won more games in the regular season than ever before and now starting 16-0 in SEC play for the first time in school history.

The No. 1 national ranking finally came last Monday and will remain in place after two more wins in a six-day span.

Florida clinched a share of the regular-season 2014 SEC Championship with last Tuesday’s 57-54 win at Vanderbilt and won the title outright – in February with three games left to play – thanks to a Kentucky loss on Thursday.

The Gators had an opportunity to celebrate their seventh regular-season championship (third in the last four seasons, second in as many campaigns) on Saturday and did so with a wire-to-wire 79-61 beat down of LSU. But that exaltation came to an end once the final buzzer sounded.

There were no t-shirts or hats brought on the court. A ladder and pair of scissors did not get handed to a walk-on to start the net-cutting process. No mementos would be taken from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Saturday because Florida’s seniors knew – and were taught – better.

Continue Reading » Donovan keeping Florida on the edge of glory

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