NCAA (ORLANDO) NOTEBOOK: Gators' Kasey Hill has toe injury
ORLANDO - Florida freshman guard Kasey Hill is suffering from turf toe and will be re-evaluated today prior to the Gators’ second round game against Albany.
Hill, the backup to starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin, is averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Over the past several weeks Hill’s minutes have increased and he’s provided valuable rest for Wilbekin who averages nearly 34 minutes per game. Hill played 16 minutes in Sunday’s SEC championship win over Kentucky. Hill participated in Florida’s practice Wednesday.
GETTING KILLED?: Albany has had a tough road to the second round. The Great Danes defeated Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday in a first round game, left Dayton at 12:40 a.m. and arrived in Orlando about 3:30 a.m. And while the players said their confidence is high, the same can’t be said for coach Will Brown’s 11-year-old son. About 15 minutes following Tuesday night’s game, Jackson Brown said to this dad: “Do we get to play Florida now? Are we going to get killed?”
Brown’s response: “Let me watch some film, then I’ll tell you how we’ll do.”
Brown called Florida the best team he’s seen all season. And while no No. 16 seed has ever defeated a No. 1 seed, the Albany players said the pressure is on the Gators.
“Crazier things have been done, I think, in the course of history,” Albany C John Puk said. “Obviously a 16-seed has never beat a 1-seed, but it has to come true at some point in time.”
IT’S NOT THE SEED, IT’S THE MATCHUP: It turns out Louisville coach Rick Pitino isn’t nearly as upset about the Cardinals’ No. 4 seed as many analysts and fans are. Instead, it’s the actual opponent Pitino has a problem with. The Cardinals will play Manhattan, who is coached by former Pitino assistant Steve Masiello, whom Pitino said has a team that mirrors his own and that Masiello knows his every play.
“I’ll tell you what does bother me is playing Manhattan,” Pitino said. “He played under me, he was an assistant coach. That’s why I don’t know why they would do it. I just don’t like the game at all for either one of us.”
NOTHING BUT LOVE: The close relationship between Pitino and Florida coach Billy Donovan is well-documented, but on Wednesday Pitino again publicly stated how much he cares for his former player and former assistant.
"There's no finer person I've ever met in my life like Billy Donovan," Pitino said. "There's no finer coach I've met in my life than Billy Donovan. There's no better assistant or player than Billy Donovan. He's just the most special human being I've ever encountered in my lifetime. He never changed. Success hasn't changed him, adversity doesn't change him. I'm just proud to have coached him, to have worked with him and to witness everything he's accomplishing in life. As a husband, as a parent, he's just in a class by himself. There's nobody like Billy The Kid in this world that I've encountered in my lifetime."