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It’s Kentucky vs UConn In Title Game As Florida Falls To Huskies

gfx-hoops-round-up2UConn 63 – Florida 53

1. Florida’s 30-game winning streak snapped.  Guard Scottie Wilbekin struggles with cramping issues.

2. Wilbekin: “Some of it was them and some of us, just … I can’t give you an answer.”

3. Florida raced out to a 16-4 lead.  ”Then, almost in the blink of an eye, two things changed the direction of the game by 180 degrees: the Basketball Gods and the Connecticut guards.”

4. UConn coach Kevin Ollie: “Even when we’re down 16-4…I knew we were going to get back in the game.”

5. Florida coach Billy Donovan and Scottie Wilbekin discuss the loss.

Kentucky 74 – Wisconsin 73

6. Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison does it again.  Hits three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to send Kentucky to national championship game.

7. John Calipari: “When we huddled I said, ‘We’re going at Aaron, boys. Anybody got a problem with that?” 

8. Calipari and Harrison discuss the game-winning shot.

9. Kentucky has gone from unranked at the end of the regular season to one game away from winning it all.

10. Dan Wetzel: “These guys are either winning the national title or killing someone while trying – maybe their coach, maybe their fans, maybe their own parents.”

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Final Four Saturday: Can Florida, Kentucky Make It An All-SEC Championship?

gfx-hoops-round-up2UConn vs Florida

1. Huge key for the Gators - “how well Florida plays inside could determine whether Florida makes its fourth trip to a national title game under head coach Billy Donovan.”

2. How does Florida feel about playing in cavernous AT&T Stadium?  Michael Frazier II: “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s still the same distance from the hoop.”

3. Mike DeCourcy on Billy Donovan: ”He’s already got as many NCAA championships as Dean Smith, Denny Crum, Hank Iba and his mentor, Rick Pitino.”

4. “If Florida or UConn win it all, it could be the first time since the NBA draft began in 1947 that the NCAA champion does not have a player in the first round.” 

Kentucky vs Wisconsin

5. A remarkable turnaround for Kentucky in less than a month: “The same fans who’d grown weary of this talented team’s underachievement have fallen fully in back in love with it.”

6. “In the seven games since spending a few days with his dad, (Kentucky guard) Aaron (Harrison)  has averaged 16.6 points and has hit 22 of 44 threes.

7. John Calipari on his program:  ”We have had 17 players drafted…Every one of them in the league right now. ”

8. More Calipari: “The job at Kentucky ages you.”


9. John Feinstein: “(S)adly, this event isn’t as big of a deal for the players as it used to be.”

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Basketball Media Days: Florida Coach Billy Donovan

Florida coach Billy Donovan answers questions at the SEC Basketball Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

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Blue-Chipper Walker Not Enrolling At Florida This Semester

PleaseWaitGary Parrish of reports today that McDonald’s All-American Chris Walker will not enroll at Florida until at least December.  According to a source, Walker is “close” to finishing his coursework and he should “be eligible in December.”

If Walker — a top-10 ranked prospect — does complete his work and is cleared to play, he could join Billy Donovan’s club for a game against Memphis on December 17th in Madison Square Garden.

Walker is a 6-10, 225-pound center — the top center in the 2013 class according to — from Bonifay, Florida.

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Florida Offers One-Handed Guard Preferred Walk-On Spot

Zach HodskinsBecause of a birth defect, Alpharetta, Georgia high-school guard Zach Hodskins has no left hand or forearm.  That would seem to rule out a basketball career, right? Wrong.   At a camp in June,  one recruiting site named him the most impressive prospect.  His talent has caught the eye of college coaches as well.  Florida coach Billy Donovan has offered Hoskins a preferred walk-on spot.  According to Yahoo!, the offer would guarantee Hodskins a spot on the team without a full scholarship starting in the 2014-15 season.

No word yet if Hodskins will accept the offer.  Both the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Birmingham Southern have reportedly considered offering the Georgia guard a scholarship.

If you haven’t seen Hodskins in action yet, check out the video below and you can see why his ability has caught the eye of college recruiters. (H/T




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WOW Headlines – 6/18/13

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel has been given a talking-to by the A&M staff after his “i can’t wait to leave college station” tweet from over the weekend
Alabama’s new locker room facility will actually feature a waterfall
Florida LB Antonio Morrison is out of jail but he still faces a charge of simple battery for a weekend fight
Missouri has dismissed LB Torey Boozer for “undisclosed disciplinary reasons”
Ex-Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning worked out with current Volunteer football players Monday in Knoxville
Florida coach Billy Donovan says G Scotty Wilbekin “has work to do” before returning from suspension
Former UNC-Asheville G Keith Hornsby will transfer to LSU’s basketball team
Follow the SEC each day at

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UF Hoopster Walker To Transfer

RevolvingDoorFor the second time in a week, Florida has announced that one of its basketball players is transferring.  Freshman swingman DeVon Walker has been granted his release by Gator coach Billy Donovan.

“DeVon has a bright future, and we hope for the best for him wherever he chooses to go,” Donovan said via statement.  Whether UF will clear Walker to transfer somewhere in the SEC is the question.  Walker chose Florida over Alabama and Georgia — among others — when he signed as a top-150 national prospect in 2012.

Fellow Florida freshman guard Braxton Ogbueze announced last week that he too was transferring in the hopes of finding more playing time.

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SEC Headlines 10/10/2012

SEC East

1. Steve Spurrier on the crowd noise at LSU: “We won’t be able to audible like we did last week.”

2. Ron Morris on the Gamecocks: “Because of its defense, there is no game on USC’s schedule that cannot be won.”

3. Best team in the East -South Carolina or Florida?

4. Turning a weakness into a strength.  Florida on third-and-short first three games – 22 percent.  Last two games?  100 percent conversion.

5. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease: “Mass kicks a$%”

6. Will Muschamp on running successfully out of the I-formation: “It’s really, really hard against good people.”

7. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin knows what to expect from Florida: “Offensively, they are going to try and run it down your throat…”

8. Georgia’s offensive line finds a silver lining in their performance against South Carolina: “We kept fighting. We could have just laid down and gone three-and-out and just gotten off the field and that would have been the end of the game, but we kept driving.”

9. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray: “As a quarterback, you feel like you can make every throw at any time, regardless of if he’s triple-covered or not.”

10. The only Tennessee fan with a cowbell.

11. Nick Saban on Missouri’s offense: “This is probably one of the most challenging offenses philosophically in terms of no-huddle, lots of different formations, lots of motions, lots of adjustments for the defense to make.” The Tigers haven’t scored more than 20 points in three SEC games.

12. Hard to score points when you struggle even snapping the ball to your quarterback.

13. Three Kentucky players charged with marijuana possession enter not guilty pleas.

14. UK putting all their eggs in the Jalen Whitlow basket this weekend?

SEC West

15. Big plays can beat Tennessee, but can Mississippi State deliver them?  Dan Mullen: “It’s hard to consistently rely on the big play.”

16. The Ole Miss offense is best in the SEC at third-down conversions.

17. Quarterback Bo Wallace’s sister undergoes surgery after a car accident – suffers a broken neck.

18. Just hours after an interstate accident, Tyler Wilson was back at practice for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

19. Both Wilson and Paul Petrino like having the offensive coordinator up in the pressbox than down on the field.

20. With Auburn off to a 1-4 start, the inevitable questions are starting to be asked about Gene Chizik.

21. Chizik on Auburn’s starting quarterback: “We’ll make a decision later in the week.”

22. The struggling LSU offense is ninth in the conference overall – ranked 12th in passing offense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger: “I can assure you that all of our mistakes are correctable.”

23. Scot Rabalais on the Tigers’ offense: “Still wandering in the wilderness.”

24. Matt Hayes: “Who exactly has Alabama beaten?”

25. When his father and coach Sal Sunseri left for Tennessee, why did son Vinnie stay at Alabama? “Coach Saban is the reason I stayed here,” Sunseri said. “He’s one of the best DB coaches out there and I just wanted to learn from the best.”

26. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin expects quite a challenge from the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – 5-0 and ranked at No. 23. “They’re probably ranked a little low.”

SEC/College News

27. Coaches on the hot seat in the SEC could spell opportunity for coaches in the Sun Belt. Here are some of the coaches they could be replacing.

28. Gary Pinkel, Nick Saban and the Don James influence. Saban: ” In fact, when I first started coaching, Don James was so well organized that I just assumed that any place that you went, that’s how everybody did it.”

29. Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer and his new life at Arkansas Baptist: “He can play football. We already know that. That will handle itself. But we want Michael to develop his character.

30. Is Cam Newton the next Vince Young?

31. Bowl projections from the Sporting News.

32. Terry Bowden on the 1993 Auburn team that was on probation  heading into the Georgia game with a 9-0 record. “I said, ‘If you win, we’ll get you a ring. We’re not allowed to say, ‘SEC Champs.’ It’s going to say, ‘Best in the SEC. On the Field.’”  Auburn won the game 42-28.

34. Spending on athletics at FBS schools rose at a greater rate than overall institutional expenses in 2010-2011

35. Mrs. Jay Barker – aka country singer and Missouri native Sara Evans - will sing the national anthem before the Alabama-Missouri game Saturday.

SEC Basketball

36. Georgia tight end Jay Rome could be on the basketball court for the Bulldogs by the time of their SEC opener.

37. Billy Donovan, the son of Florida coach Billy Donovan, has joined the Gators as a walk-on.

38. “Is it better to sit but wear a Kentucky uniform or play for another, perhaps lesser, program?”


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Beal’s One-And-Done At UF; Donovan Can’t Blame Him

When you sign the Gatorade National Player of the Year out of high school, you know there’s a chance he’ll only be in your program for a year.  And that’s exactly the case with Bradley Beal at Florida.

Beal averaged 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a freshman guard for the Gators last year.  He told the media today that he’s turning pro after that performance:

“It was the right time for me.  It was the toughest decision I made in my life…

There are pros and cons with both sides (staying or going).  I really couldn’t go wrong with this decision.”

Given the possibility of injury, Beal made the right decision… though it’s disappointing anytime a talent like his leaves the SEC.  Imagine seeing players like Beal or Kentucky’s John Wall or Anthony Davis in their second and third years of college ball (if the NBA adopted an entry rule like those of the NFL and MLB).

Billy Donovan understands Beal’s situation saying he has “all the intangibles to be a great, great pro.”  He also added, “Selfishly I’m going to miss the opportunity to coach him, but I don’t think there’s any question he’s going to go in the lottery.”

Which means there’s no question that he’s about to become an instant millionaire.  And that means there’s no question that Beal’s call was the right one.

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SEC Headlines – 3/9/12 Part Two

1.  Florida needs a renewed focus on defense today against Alabama.

2.  The Gators also need a feel-good win heading into the NCAAs.  (This one’s Billy Donovan versus old aide Anthony Grant, by the way.)

3.  If Georgia had shot all year the way they did in two games against Mississippi State, they sure wouldn’t have finished 5-11 in league play.

4.  Former UGA tight end Orson Charles — who left school early for the NFL — followed up a disappointing Pro Day with a DUI early this morning.  (Charles said Monday that he turned pro in order to help his mother pay some of her bills.)

5.  If you’re in New Orleans today to see Kentucky take on LSU — in less than an hour — you’ll likely spot a billboard of Anthony Davis that the school has put up.

6.  Expect the Tigers to be physical with the Wildcats today.

7.  South Carolina’s “miserable season” ended with yesterday’s loss to Alabama.

8.  Just to reiterate, Carolina’s “forgettable season” ends with the loss.

9.  Tennessee will enter tonight’s game with visions of the NCAA tourney dancing in their heads.

10.  For Cuonzo Martin it’s all about the defense… as usual.

11.  Vanderbilt will try to go 3-0 versus Georgia when they play late tonight.

12.  Festus Ezeli says the SEC tourney is “a chance to right some of the wrongs we’ve made before.”

13.  Gary Pinkel says Missouri and Kansas should play in Kansas City every September.

UPDATE — Mike Slive says the league will discuss making changes to the way it doles out Thursday-Saturday basketball turnarounds.

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