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Four SEC Schools In Katz’ 2012 Top 25

ESPN basketball analyst Andy Katz has taken a post-NBA-deadline look across the college basketball landscape and tried to project next season’s Top 25.  Four SEC programs are represented with the power of the league once again seated in the East Division.

Katz ranks Kentucky #2 in the nation — behind only North Carolina.  He places Vanderbilt at #7 on his list saying that the Commodores “have the experience and talent to win the league.” 

Florida comes in at #12 despite the loss of Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus.  And Alabama ranks #14 with Katz writing: “This team will defend, and if it can win some games in November and December, it can be a player nationally.”

On a sidenote — Texas A&M ranks #20 on Katz’ list.  Obviously the man who eventually replaces Mark Turgeon will be inheriting a darn good roster.  We mention this on the off chance that A&M decides to chase a current SEC coach.

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Florida Looking For A Win Tonight, Not Revenge

When Florida’s season ended in the NCAA Tournament last year, its demise came at the hands of Brigham Young.  So facing the Cougars tonight in the Sweet Sixteen in New Orleans, is revenge on the Gators’ minds?

“No, there’s no revenge,” said Vernon Macklin.  “It’s just a regular game for us.  And for them, also.”

Chandler Parsons agrees.  “I think us going into the game, we’re just worried about their team this year.  We can’t be worried about what we did good last year, what we did bad last year.  We have a new team; they have  a new team, new personnel.  So it’s just going to be us against them.”

Billy Donovan must love having a veteran, savvy team for a change.  Indeed, this Florida bunch is an easy team to pull for.  Too bad tonight they’re facing one of the country’s top college heroes in Jimmer Fredette.  The BYU gunner averaged 28.8 points per game this year tallying 1,002 points… on the season.

“In every game that he’s played, everybody’s trying to stop him, everybody’s trying to slow him down, and he still gets 33 a game,” Billy Donovan said yesterday.  “He still averages 28 a game, he still does it regardless.  I’m not comparing him to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but I did make the comment a year ago that I thought Fredette had more of an impact in a college game than John Wall did. … When you’re dealing with a guy like that, there’s a lot of times that you are at his mercy because he’s got the ball in his hands.”

The Gators’ Kenny Boynton is expected to play following a sprained ankle in his last game against UCLA.  “We just practiced (he said yesterday), and I did everything fully.  I had no problems.  I can cut, I did everything good.”

Sidenote — ESPN’s Jay Bilas says Florida is “good enough to play in the Final Four.”  He also thinks “that Florida is the best team remaining (in its bracket), but it’s not by much.”

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SEC Headlines – 12/17/10 Part Two

1.  As Florida’s players get used to a new coach, one says he saw Urban Meyer lose some fire last season.

2.  The basketball Gators are feeding the ball to Vernon Macklin.

3.  Georgia footballers Washaun Ealey and Michael Gilliard came to the aid of a driver whose bus had hydroplaned into a tree.

4.  UGA needs help at the nose tackle position.

5.  The decision to stay or go is “weighing heavy” on Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb.

6.  Sources say South Carolina redshirt sophomore receiver Tori Gurley is “strongly considering a jump to the NFL.”

7.  Tennessee returned to practice yesterday and the team wasn’t as rusty as Derek Dooley expected.

8.  Vol basketballer John Fields will be carrying a grudge into tonight’s game at Charlotte.

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Florida considering redshirting freshman F Cody Larson

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

With experience and depth in the frontcourt, Florida is considering redshirting freshman forward Cody Larson, coach Billy Donovan said Monday.

The No. 9 Gators returned five starters this season, including forward Alex Tyus and center Vernon Macklin. Behind those seniors are sophomore Erik Murphy and freshmen Patric Young and Will Yeguete.

Donovan said he would leave the choice up to Larson, but for now he’s not playing the South Dakota native to leave that option open.

“I think anytime you redshirt somebody, if it works out that way, what you’re saying to him is that you’re going to be a very, very good player in this program and we’re willing to invest another year in you,” Donovan said. “And I think he’s going to be terrific. I think he’s on a team with some depth and some numbers and some experience ahead of him right now.”

Larson, rated a four-star recruit by and a three-star recruit by, averaged 19.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks as a senior at Roosevelt High.

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Florida center Vernon Macklin adjusting to leadership role

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

(Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

With five returning starters this season, Florida has leadership to spare. But coach  Billy Donovan is trying to test it now.

He’s been creating adversity in practice to see how his players will handle it. It’s easy enough to be a leader in the summer. It’s considerably more difficult to do so in late November with games underway.

Among the players Donovan is testing is redshirt senior Vernon Macklin, a player who hasn’t had to take on that role before.

“I don’t think Vernon has responded like I would like to see him respond,” Donovan said. “Now he’s done a great job up to this point and he’s played well and he’s worked hard, but he himself is going to be able to handle and be a calming force in a lot of ways for our team. There’s no doubt in my mind that I think he can do that.”

Donovan said part of that comes from Macklin’s journey to this point. A highly touted recruit out of Hargrave Military Academy, Macklin spent two years at Georgetown before transferring to Florida. After sitting out a year, he’s only had one season to find his place here.

With the start of the regular season just more than a week away, Donovan is confident Macklin will get to that point. But without the live action of games to test his center, Donovan will have to do it himself.

“It’s a huge adjustment cause Coach D, he puts you on a high level,” Macklin said. “He wants you to be the type of leader like those great guys was in 06 and 07. I’ve never been in that position before, so I’m working to get there.”

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