Multiple Gator teams vying for championships this weekend

It's a championship weekend for several Florida Gators teams who will be vying for conference and national titles.

The defending national champion Gators gymnastics team is in Alabama this weekend for the NCAA Gymnastics championships.

The No. 1 Gators (15-2, 6-1 SEC) will compete in tonight's second semifinal round at 8 p.m. along with Alabama, UCLA, Nebraska, Penn State and Utah. Florida will begin the competition on the vault.

The first semifinal round, at 2 p.m., will include: Georgia, Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford

The top six teams - three from each round - will advance to Saturday's Super Six team finals at 7 p.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center.

Florida has qualified for the NCAA Championships 32 times, missing only the 2000 event. The Gators advanced to the 2014 national stage by winning the University Park Regional, held April 5 in Penn State's Rec Hall. This is the fourth time Florida enters the NCAA Championships as No. 1, as UF was the top seed in 2013, 2012 and shared the No. 1 seed with Utah in 2007.


Full Story

Gators Will Muschamp happy with spring practice

Florida concluded its 2014 spring practices today with the annual Orange and Blue game.

Gators coach Will Muschamp said he was pleased with the overall practices, including the installation of Florida's new up-tempo offense under Kurt Roper.

Hear Muschamp's postgame comments: <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Full Story

Vernon Hargreaves focused on becoming a leader for Gators

After a freshman season that earned him All-American status, Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves said he's pleased with what he was able to accomplish this past season, but focused on the future.

Hargreaves said Wednesday afternoon he is trying to become more of a leader after the Gators lost many upperclassmen on defense, and are in need of players to step up.

Hear more from Hargreaves on the secondary and what to expect in this weekend's spring game:

Full Story

Wilbekin prepared for rematch with UConn in Final Four

Florida senior G Scottie Wilbekin is expected to be one-half of a highly-anticipated matchup with UConn's Shabazz Napier when the Gators and Huskies meet Saturday night in the NCAA national semifinal game.

The two teams played earlier this season, with UConn earning a 65-64 victory.

Wilbekin talked about the previous game and the upcoming Final Four game during press conferences on Friday.

Full Story

Gators Scottie Wilbekin looking forward to playing UConn again

The last time Florida and UConn met, Gators senior G Scottie Wilbekin  missed the final minutes of the game after turning his ankle.

The Gators eventually lost that Dec. 2 game at UConn on a buzzer-beater by the Huskies' Shabazz Napier.

On Saturday, the Gators and Huskies will meet again - this time with a trip to the national championship game on the line.

Watch Wilbekin talk about UConn and his thoughts on the Final Four.

Full Story

Gators Casey Prather named Wooden All-American

Florida senior forward Casey Prather is among 10 players named to the John R. Wooden Award All-American team, announced today.

The team was selected through voting from nearly 1,000 college basketball experts and by fan voting across the nation.

Prather is averaging 13.8 points per game, with 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

All players included on the John Wooden All-American team are making progress towards graduation and have maintained a minimum grade point average of 2.0 -a criteria insisted upon by the late legendary coach Wooden. In addition to regular season play, voters could also consider performance throughout the first three rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in making their selections.

Florida, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, will play UConn Saturday at 6:09 p.m. in the first national semifinal game at Cowboys Stadium. The game will be televised on TBS>.

Here is the full Wooden All-American team:

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Nick Johnson, Arizona 
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Doug McDermott,  Creighton
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut 
Jabari Parker, Duke
Casey Prather. Florida
Russ Smith, Louisville
Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Full Story

Gators don't see Dayton as Cinderella team

Because Dayton is a No. 11 seed and Florida is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, many have given the Flyers the NCAA tourney "Cinderella" label.

The Gators are not among those. Florida's players said Friday the way Dayton is playing - having defeated Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford on the way to the Elite Eight - there is no way they should be considered a Cinderella.

"They're all great at shooting threes," Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "They have great percentages. They do a good job of getting in the lane. They're active on defense. I think that they have a lot of depth, have a lot of different guys who can score and put points on the board in a number of different ways.  It's going to be a challenge to match up with them and to stick with it for the whole 40 minutes."

Listen to Wilbekin talk more about today's game:


Full Story

Gators Michael Frazier focused, ready for battle with Dayton

Coming off a game-high 19 point game against UCLA, Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier is feeling confident that his early-tournament shooting struggles are over.

But during interviews Friday prior to today's Elite Eight game against Dayton, Frazier was extremely focused.

He said the Gators are "excited for the opportunity" to play in another Elite Eight game - the second for Frazier - and that Florida's players continued to be fueled by their quest to "chase greatness."

When asked to define chasing greatness, Frazier said: "I think chasing greatness is just being locked in every single moment. Not worrying about the past, not worrying about the future, just trying to dominate every possession and be our best."

Watch Frazier talk more about today's game:

Full Story

Patric Young says Gators "won't let the moment get bigger than us"

When Florida plays Dayton tonight in the NCAA Tournament South Regional Finals, the Gators will be trying to advance to the Final Four for the fourth consecutive season.

The previous three, they've fallen short.

But the Gators said they are determined to not last past failures enter into their mindset and preparation for today's game.

Watch Young talk more about the Gators, Dayton and the NCAA Tournament.

Full Story

Video: Previewing Florida-Dayton

Times beat reporter Antonya English recaps Florida's victory over UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen and looks ahead to Saturday's meeting with Dayton in the Elite Eight.

Full Story

Late tipoff time not a huge concern for Gators coach Billy Donovan

For two weeks during the postseason, the Florida Gators have enjoyed the luxury of early-afternoon tipoff times.

During the SEC tournament in Atlanta, the Gators played at 1 and 3 p.m. during their three-day run.

In Orlando in the NCAA Tournament second and third rounds this past weekend, the Gators also had early afternoon games.

Tonight, the Gators aren't scheduled to tipoff until 9:45 p.m. - or possibly later if the first game between Dayton and Stanford runs longer.

But Florida coach Billy Donovan said the varying start times the Gators played throughout the regular season should help in preparation for tonight's late tipoff.

"I think you take your experience that you've had during the course of the year," Donovan said.  "We obviously went to Kentucky, played a 9 p.m. game on a Saturday - it was College Gameday.  "We played Missouri here at home in a 9:00 game. We had to go to Ole Miss and we had to play Ole Miss at Ole Miss at 11 in the morning - Ole Miss time.  We went to Arkansas and played at Arkansas, I think, at noon our time here. So we've had those experiences."

The only significant changes will come today with gameday preparation. …

Full Story

UCLA's Kyle Anderson was almost a Gator

Kyle Anderson will be trying to lead UCLA to victory over the Gators tonight, but if things had gone just a little differently, he'd be wearing Gator colors instead.

Anderson was highly recruited by Florida and was expected to sign, but had last-minute change of heart.

"It was a very close decision," Anderson said. "I wouldn't have had a problem with going to both schools. I just happened to like UCLA more. I think the player development that I saw when being recruited by coach Donovan, I think that played a big role in how much I liked Florida at the time. But I decided to come to UCLA, and I was happy with my decision."

Anderson will be a focal point for the Gators tonight. The 6-foot-9 point guard leads the team in rebounding (8.7) and assists (6.6) and poses serious matchup problems for the Gators.

Full Story

Casey Prather's road to the Final Four leads through hometown

Casey Prather chose to play his collegiate career far away from home because he thought Florida was the best place for him.

Now the senior F will try to help lead the Gators to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and the path will lead through his home state.

The Jackson, Tennessee native will have a large contingent of family and friends on hand when the Gators play UCLA Thusday at FedExForum in Memphis.

Prather talked about the matchup, what the Gators have to do to win, and his excitement about playing near his home.

Full Story

Gators Scottie Wilbekin earns third-team NABC All-America honors

Scottie Wilbekin's postseason honors began with being named SEC Player of the Year. The Gators senior guard has now moved on to All-America honors.

Today, Wilbekin earned third-team All-America honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, becoming the first Gator to make the NABC All-America list since Al Horford and Joakim Noah both earned second-team mention in 2007.

Earlier this month, Wilbekin earned Sporting News All-America honors, as well as SEC Player of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP recognition.

Here is the full list of the NABC All-Americans: …

Full Story

Limited number of tickets remain for NCAA South Regional

A limited number of tickets have become avaialable to this week's NCAA Tournament South Regional at the FedExForum in Memphis.

The tickets are the result of some of the team's in the region - Florida, UCLA, Dayton and Stanford – returning tickets allotted to them by the NCAA.

The No. 1 overall seed Gators will play UCLA at 9:45 on Thursday and Dayton will play Stanford at 7:15.

The University of Memphis, which is hosting the event, said in a release:

"A limited number of all session tickets for the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball South Regional in Memphis will be made available for general public purchase (Wednesday) at 1 p.m., CST. Session tickets are $160 and can be purchased at here."

Session packages include tickets to Thursday's semifinal matchups and Saturday's regional final.

Full Story