Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dayton flies high entering NCAA matchup with Gators

MEMPHIS — Call it homecourt advantage for the Dayton Flyers.

The NCAA South Region final is at FedExForum, but judging by the large number of Dayton fans who have made the trip, tonight's game against the No. 1 overall seed Gators will clearly be like a hostile road environment for Florida.

"We have a spectacular fan base," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "I mean, spectacular. When we play, regardless of where we're at, what you guys probably experienced maybe for the first time is what our players experience every time we take the floor. … Wherever we go, some crazy group of people is going to show up. The great thing about what's going on right now is they're energized. That makes them probably even a little bit more crazy."

UF senior C Patric Young said based on 11th-seeded Dayton's tournament resume — victories over Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford — perhaps the Gators should be considered the underdogs. He understands why the crowd most likely will be pro-Dayton, even those with no affiliation.

"As fans, we want to see the underdog team, whatever sport, be able to knock down (the favorite), the David-and-Goliath-type story," Young said. "But that has nothing to do with what happens in between the lines. We've been in hostile environments before.

"Even if all the fans there are cheering for Dayton, we're still going to stay within ourselves and stay focused on the moment one possession at a time. We won't allow it to affect us. We've been able to handle that all year long. We're playing a dangerous team. They earned their spot to be here. They were the best team to make this spot."

FAMILIAR FACE: Florida coach Billy Donovan again faces one of his former assistant coaches. Tom Ostrom, in his third season as an assistant with the Flyers, got his start under Donovan as a video coordinator.

"It's been awhile since he's worked for me and at Florida, but he's done a great job for me," Donovan said, adding there's no disadvantage with Ostrom on another team. "But I think the teams are going to end up preparing, and the teams are going to have to go out and execute and play."

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Memphis has been filled with well-known folks at the FedExForum. Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow attended Thursday night's game against UCLA to cheer on his alma mater. Stanford alums Condoleeza Rice and Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman attended the Dayton-Stanford game.

And then there was a pseudo-celebrity sighting, the oddest of them all.

Mississippi G Marshall Henderson — who has been a thorn in Florida's side the past two seasons — was there. And get this: He was wearing an Ole Miss hat and a Gators shirt. According to his Twitter account, he even called the Gators "his boys" and said he was going to support them. Nobody ever said he's not a character.

DID YOU KNOW: ESPN Stats & Info said that Thursday night against UCLA, Florida G Kasey Hill became the fourth freshman with at least 10 assists in a Sweet 16 game, joining Cal's Jason Kidd (1993), Maryland's Keith Gatlin (1984) and Michigan State's Magic Johnson (1978).

Dayton flies high entering NCAA matchup with Gators

03/28/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation

    Footballpreps

    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  2. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

    Blogs

    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …

  3. AP Top 25: Alabama first, FSU, UF, Miami and USF all in top 20

    Blogs

    As expected, Alabama will start the season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

  4. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  5. Ex-Florida Gators QB Treon Harris will start at Tennessee State

    Blogs

    Former Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris is a starter again.

    At Tennessee State.