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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Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

No. 1 Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Coach and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Associated Press on Monday, sweeping the awards after receiving the same honors from league coaches last Tuesday.

Donovan secured his third unanimous (coaches and AP voters) SEC Coach of the Year award, while Wilbekin cemented his place as just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Donovan, who is one win away from matching Dale Brown (LSU) for all-time wins at an SEC school, had help leading the Gators to their 32-2 record while setting a number of school marks along the way.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

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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.

OnlyGators.com 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.

ESPN ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSES FLORIDA AS NO. 1 OVERALL

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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 – Georgia Dome: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA [Capacity: 26,000]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

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

(1) FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Record: 30-2 Record: 21-11
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U: 125

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 Volunteers advanced to the semifinals after pulling off a 59-44 victory over South Carolina on Friday.
» UF is 39-45 all-time in the SEC Tournament with a 24-14 record under Donovan and three-straight SEC Tournament Championships from 2005-07.
» Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 18-18, but the Gators are 18-18 against the Vols since Donovan took over. UT is also 4-3 against UF in SEC Tournament action, but Donovan helped Florida win its last such game against Tennessee in 2011.
» The Gators swept the regular-season series agains the Volunteers, defeating their Saturday opponent 67-41 at home on Jan. 25 and 67-58 on the road on Feb. 11.
» UF enters Saturday’s regular-season finale on a program-record 24-game winning streak and at 18-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 29 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single regular season. Florida has won 29 of its last 30 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 81-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 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 3-0 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.

Continue Reading » Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament – Georgia Dome: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers

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Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida upends Mizzou 72-49

Breaking free from a tie score at the break, the No. 1 Florida Gators (30-2) powered past the Missouri Tigers (22-11) on Friday afternoon, doubling up the lower seed in the second half on the way to a dominant 72-49 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

Florida got better and better over the latter 20 minutes, never trailing in the second period. UF ended the game with its largest lead (23 points) and extended its winning streaks to 24-straight games dating back to Dec. 2, 2013

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

It was over when: Pulling away and already up 14 with less than five minutes to play, sophomore guard Michael Frazier II drained a three on an assist from freshman PG Kasey Hill to push UF ahead 17 points with 4:20 remaining in the game. The lead had already been to be too much for the Tigers to overcome, but the Gators put the game away with Frazier’s well-timed triple.

Prominent players: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was dominant on Saturday, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range, grabbing four steals, pulling down three rebounds and dishing two assists. Joining him with a terrific offensive effort was Frazier, who matched Wilbekin with 15 points while hitting 5-of-7 attempts from downtown. He added four boards and two steals of his own.

Significant stretch / Perfect play: With effort and tenacity, Florida exploded on a 12-0 run just when it needed it the most – up only two points midway through the second half . After senior forward Will Yeguete scored a layup, he called for the press on defense. Wilbekin immediately stole the ball on the ensuing inbounds play, saved it from going out of bounds on his deflection and moved beyond the arc where he hit a wide open a three. The Gators pushed their lead to 14 points with seven minutes left to play thanks in large part to another Wilbekin three.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida upends Mizzou 72-49

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Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament – Georgia Dome: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Missouri Tigers

Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA [Capacity: 26,000]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

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

(1) FLORIDA GATORS MISSOURI TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Haith
Record: 29-2 (18-0 SEC) Record: 22-10 (9-9 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -12 | O/U: 132

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 Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals after pulling off a 91-83 double-overtime victory against Texas A&M on Thursday.
» UF is 38-45 all-time in the SEC Tournament with a 23-14 record under Donovan and three-straight SEC Tournament Championships from 2005-07.
» Florida is 2-1 all-time against Missouri, 1-0 during the 2013-14 season, topping Saturday’s opponent 68-58 on Feb. 4 in the O’Dome.
» UF enters Saturday’s regular-season finale on a program-record 23-game winning streak and at 19-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 29 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single season. Florida has won 28 of its last 29 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 80-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 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. UF lost those contests by a combined seven points.
» 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 19-5 record playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida’s senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.

Continue Reading » Gameday – 2014 SEC Tournament – Georgia Dome: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Missouri Tigers

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