16 Gator Bites for Wednesday, March 20

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Though President Barack Obama‘s official 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket will be released on Wednesday at 9 a.m. on ESPN, the network released his Final Four late Tuesday night. President Obama chose the Florida Gators to win the South Region and also has Louisville, Indiana and Ohio State advancing to the Final Four.

» Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had a hellacious experience during his team’s game on Monday evening. With 5.7 seconds left in overtime and Chicago trailing Denver by a single point, Noah got in perfect position underneath the basket and tipped in what otherwise would have been a missed shot. Though Noah scored the apparent game-winner and the referees did not call interference on the play, they checked the replay and eventually reversed their decision. The problem? Referees are only allowed to use replay to review on-court calls of interference, not to check on non-calls. Take a look at the video below to see what transpired on Monday.

Read 14 more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 16 Gator Bites for Wednesday, March 20

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OGGOA Week In Review: Nov. 27 – Dec. 4

Considering so much has gone on over the past week in regards to the Florida Gators, the OGGOA Week In Review returns for its second edition. (Yes, it covers an eight-day period, but let’s just all agree to ignore that.) Be sure to check out all of the posts that have been written this week just in case you happened to miss a thing or two.

OGGOA COLUMNS
» An in-depth look at former Florida head coach Urban Meyer going to the Ohio State Buckeyes was published in the latest edition of The Silver Lining. The 3,500-word piece looks at Meyer’s decision from every possible angle (some tidbits you will not find elsewhere are included) and provides you with all the information you need in order to draw your own conclusion.

» OGGOA had the unique opportunity to review “The Play That Changed College Football,” the latest edition of the ESPN documentary series SEC Storied.

» Following Florida basketball’s loss to the No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange, former Gators forward Adam Allen posted the latest edition of Allen’s Alley, explaining in what areas Florida has room for improvement.

EXTRA
While Al Michaels and Bob Costas are discussing the Denver Broncos improving to 6-1 this season with quarterback Tim Tebow starting, former Gators wide receiver now NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth does the Gator Chomp. (Thanks to OGGOA follower Chaz.)

FOOTBALL
» Meyer agreed to coach the Buckeyes beginning in 2012. His signing was officially announced prior to OSU introducing him at an on-campus press conference. In between, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley wished Meyer the best of luck with his new employer.

» Two Gators – redshirt freshmen safety Joshua Shaw and defensive end Lynden Traildecided to transfer on Tuesday. Shaw and Trail each chose to transfer for different reasons, and OGGOA also spoke with Trail for an exclusive interview about his decision and promise to remain a Florida fan.

» Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was announced as the cover athlete for the premiere edition of NFL Magazine, set to go on sale Dec. 13 for $4.99.

» OGGOA confirmed that strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti would join Meyer and has already left the program for the Buckeyes.

» Florida announced that it accepted an invitation to the 2012 Gator Bowl.

» While on the media teleconference to officially accept the bowl bid, Gators head coach Will Muschamp confirmed Marotti’s departure, said sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley will undergo surgery on his ACL Wednesday and discussed a number of other topics relating to the bowl game.

» Florida four-star running back recruit Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, GA) decommitted from the Gators after a significant miscommunication with the coaching staff and completely eliminated UF from his list.

BASKETBALL
» One of the greatest television commercials to feature a college coach was published on OGGOA for your enjoyment. Florida head coach Billy Donovan does a press conference praising the variety of offerings from Florida Gulf Seafood.

» Donovan earned his 400th career win as UF routed the Stetson Hatters 96-70 Monday evening. Freshman guard Bradley Beal led the way with career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. He also discussed what winning his 400th college basketball game meant on a number of levels.

» It was determined that junior forward Erik Murphy did not tear his meniscus but rather had a deep bone bruise and may be able to return for the Arizona game on Wednesday.

» Despite it being a close game throughout, the Gators fell to the Orange 72-68 on the road in Syracuse, NY. Junior G Kenny Boynton started slow but finished with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

» Following Florida’s loss to Syracuse, Donovan pointed to turnovers, poor rebounding and players missing in action as the reasons why UF struggled. Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario was benched during the contest because Donovan was not pleased with where his head was at heading into and during the game.

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Donovan earns 400th win as Florida routs Stetson

Despite some coaching news that may have hit Florida Gators fans the wrong way earlier in the day, Gator Nation had an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of head basketball coach Billy Donovan Monday evening.

Donovan picked up the 400th victory of his head coaching career as No. 9/10 Florida (5-1) routed the Stetson Hatters (3-3) 96-70 in the second annual Florida Citrus Sports Shootout at Amway Center in Orlando, FL.

Donovan became the youngest active coach with at least 400 Division I victories with the win but gave all of the credit to the talented players he has coached over the years.

Freshman guard Brad Beal led the way for a Gators with the best performance of his young career, notching his second double-double including career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 50 percent from the field, beyond the arc and at the line, blocked three shots, grabbed two steals and accounted for two assists for Florida.

As has been tradition this season, the Gators started hot out of the gate and used an impressive 20-4 run including four threes to take an early 38-16 lead.

The Hatters answered quickly by posting 13-straight points as UF went on a 4:36 scoring drought, but Florida responded by hitting six free throws and a three-pointer to end the half on a 9-0 run and take a 47-31 lead on Stetson into the break.

Though the Gators maintained a comfortable lead in the second half, the Hatters were relentless on both ends of the floor.

Florida hit nine threes to start the game but went 10:53 through the half without knocking another in from downtown. Senior point guard Erving Walker finally connected on a trey with 11:52 remaining, marking a school record six-straight games in which the Gators have hit at least 10 triples.

Despite the back-and-forth play, Florida pulled away in the end and took a game-high 26-point lead on a three by Walker with under two minutes to go.

Walker finished with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting (3-for-7 from three) with five assists. Junior G Kenny Boynton, who struggled early in the game, added 13 points and was just 3-for-8 from downtown.

Sophomore center Patric Young was tagged four quick fouls and scored just nine points, but sophomore forward Will Yegeute picked up the slack with his first career double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. He started his second-straight game in place of junior F Erik Murphy, who remains out of action with a tear in his meniscus.

The Gators also got quality minutes from sophomore G/F Casey Prather, who scored five points and picked up two steals but was the first player in over a year to foul out of a game for Florida.

UF shot just 45.3 percent from the floor and 40 percent from downtown but hit 70 percent of their free throws. The Gators outrebounded the Hatters 40-33 (14-5 on the offensive glass), stole the ball 12 times, forced 17 turnovers and only gave the ball up nine times. Stetson was held to just 1-of-18 shooting (5.6 percent) from three and hit 40.7 percent of their shots from the field.

Florida will face their second top-five ranked opponent this season when they travel to face No. 3/4 Syracuse on Friday. The game will air live at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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Gators return to Florida Citrus Sports Shootout

Florida Gators men’s basketball has agreed to participate in its fourth event of the 2011-12 season, announcing Thursday that they will face the Stetson Hatters in the second annual Florida Citrus Sports Shootout at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL

It will be the second-straight season the Gators will be playing in the game; Florida lost to Central Florida 57-54 last year.

UF will begin next season by participating in the five-team Global Sports Shootout along with Ohio State, North Florida, Jackson State and Wright State. The event is a collection of games played at different arenas. Florida will face Ohio State on the road, Wright State at a neutral site (Tampa, FL) and both North Florida and Jackson State at home in Gainesville, FL.

The Gators will square-off against Syracuse in Syracuse, NY as part of the 2011 BIG EAST/SEC Challenge on Dec. 2 and are also set to participate in the 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL on Dec. 17.

TBD – vs. North Florida – Global Sports Shootout (Gainesville, FL)
TBD – vs. Jackson State – Global Sports Shootout (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 15 – at Ohio State – Global Sports Shootout (Columbus, OH)
Nov. 21 – vs. Wright State – Global Sports Shootout (Tampa, FL)
Nov. 28 – vs. Stetson – Florida Citrus Sports Shootout (Orlando, FL)
Dec. 2 – at Syracuse – BIG EAST/SEC Challenge (Syracuse, NY)
Dec. 17 – vs. TBD – Orange Bowl Basketball Classic (Sunrise, FL)

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Gators open regular season with win over Hatters

Florida Gators men’s basketball (1-0) began the 2009-10 season with a 74-46 win over the Stetson Hatters (0-1) on Sunday afternoon in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Four Gators scored in double digits as junior forward Alex Tyus posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Freshman guard Kenny Boynton, redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin and junior forward Chandler Parsons were the other Florida players who shined offensively, scoring 12, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Macklin recorded a team-high three blocks while sophomore point guard Erving Walker led the team with three assists.

The Gators were in danger of blowing a school record for consecutive games with a three pointer until Parsons nailed one with just 33 seconds left in the game. Before that, Florida had missed 12 straight and shot only 7.7% from behind the arc on the day.

Above all else, Florida played superb defense against the Hatters, holding them to 46 points on a combined 16/56 (28.6%) from the field and 2/17 (11.8%) from three. “I was really pleased with our defense, because I didn’t think we had much of an offensive flow at all,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought our guys kept a pretty good focus in trying to defend all 40 minutes.”

Gators basketball returns to action Wednesday when the Georgia Southern Eagles visit Gainesville, FL, at 7 p.m. The game is being carried by Fox Sports Florida, so be sure to check your local listings for availability.

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Basketball plays second exhibition game Monday

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team will compete in its second and final exhibition game of the 2009-10 season Monday night against Webber International at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Head coach Billy Donovan has not lost an exhibition game since Nov. 19, 2001, and his team defeated Saint Leo last week 95-46. Tickets are available for the game and can be purchased from the box office.

OGGOA will publish a complete Florida basketball season preview next week before the regular season begins against the Stetson Hatters on Sunday, Nov. 15. We will have full coverage of basketball and every other sport throughout the season. The entire schedule and more is available by clicking the “Basketball” button on the menu bar.

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Basketball opens with exhibition vs. Saint Leo

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team is set to begin the 2009-10 season with an exhibition game Monday night against Saint Leo at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Head coach Billy Donovan has not lost an exhibition game since Nov. 19, 2001, when the Gators went down to the EA Sports All-Stars. (Yes, the EA Sports All-Stars.) Tickets are available for the game and can be purchased from the box office. Not that I’m saying this is a must-attend game or anything like that.

OGGOA will publish a complete Florida basketball season preview next week before the regular season begins against the Stetson Hatters on Sunday, Nov. 15. We will have full coverage of basketball and every other sport throughout the season. Expect additions to the right side bar soon.

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TWO BITS: B-ball unranked; previewing UF-UGA

1 » As OGGOA reported earlier, Florida Gators basketball was listed as unranked in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll, receiving only 13 total votes. The preseason AP Top 25 was released Thursday afternoon, with Florida receiving 53 votes. Though outside of the ranked teams, the Gators’ at-large votes have them ranked 34th in the country. OGGOA will have the Gators’ basketball schedule and standings up in the right column on Nov. 15 when the regular season begins against Stetson Hatters.

2 » Plenty of talk going on about the quality of the game that Florida and the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing on Saturday. Steve Eubanks of FOX Sports wonders if the game will still mix a potent cocktail, while Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated believes the game is a season-maker for Georgia. ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low thinks the game will be decided by whichever team is able to work out their kinks first, though Scouts, Inc. (via ESPN Insider) gives Florida the advantage in seven out of nine categories (QB, RB, OL, DL, DB, ST, Coach – not WR or LB).

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