Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida enjoys cutting down nets, wants to cut more

Florida guard Michael Frazier of Tampa holds up a piece of the net to signify the Gators’ South Region championship.


Florida guard Michael Frazier of Tampa holds up a piece of the net to signify the Gators’ South Region championship.

MEMPHIS — The ladders were being brought out and positioned neatly near the nets, and the basketball court at the FedExForum was filled with family and Florida Gators players.

Yet in the midst of Saturday's celebration, the Gators were already trying to figure out how to balance the pure joy of advancing to next weekend's NCAA Tournament Final Four with keeping things in perspective.

"As much fun as it is today, we have more to accomplish," senior guard Scottie Wilbekin said.

Senior center Patric Young briefly went off to the side during the mass celebration.

"The first thing that came to my mind, I was just in disbelief," he said. "It still hasn't hit me that we're going to be one of the Final Four teams in the country still playing for an opportunity at the championship.

"The next thing that came to my mind was just to go down on one knee and just thank God, just thank him for allowing us this team, just to fight through adversity, do it the right way, and come out on top — to be here."

The Gators said they planned to celebrate hard Saturday night, then get back to business on Monday.

"We're going to celebrate, the sun's going to come up (today)," Young said. "We're going to get prepared for whoever we have next. We keep moving forward. That's our goal, just keep moving forward. Next game hopefully we'll come ready to play. Fearless."

Twice, the charm: He has played just two seasons with the Gators, yet sophomore guard Michael Frazier of Tampa has played in two Elite Eight games and is on his way to his first Final Four.

After the game, still holding his piece of the championship net, Frazier reflected on the season up to this point.

"All those hours in the gym, they are paying off," Frazier said. "Coach (Billy) Donovan always says if you work hard, keep working hard, things will work out. And tonight it just shows that eventually you will reap what you sow.

"We stayed together as a team, and I'm just so happy to be able to do it with this team."

Tickets: UF's ticket office will accept orders for the Final Four in Arlington, Texas, starting today at noon. See or call (352) 375-4683, extension 6800, for information.

One hundred twenty: With its victory over Dayton, the senior class of Casey Prather, Young, Wilbekin and Will Yeguete has 120 victories, the most for a Florida senior class.

Ice-saving: Wilbekin could be seen early in the second half getting his legs iced down on the bench by athletic trainer Duke Werner. It turned out to be a huge assist from Werner for the Gators.

"For some reason, as soon as the second half started, I felt cramps coming in my legs, about to cramp up," Wilbekin said.

"So I got some ice on it, and I was fine for the rest of the game."

Did you know? The Gators advanced to the Final Four with four consecutive double-digit victories.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3389. Follow her on Twitter at @TBTimes_Gators.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Region semis Region finals Final Four Championship Final Four Region finals Region semis
South Memphis 1 Florida 79 1 Arizona 70 Anaheim, Calif. WEST
1 Florida 62 at Arlington, Texas 1 Arizona 63 OT
4 UCLA 68 4 San Diego St. 64
1 Florida 2 Wisconsin
11 Dayton 82 6 Baylor 52
11 Dayton 52 2 Wisconsin 64
10 Stanford 72 2 Wisconsin 69
April 5 April 7 April 5
East New York 1 Virginia 59 6 or 8:30, TBS 9:10, Ch. 10 6 or 8:30, TBS 8 Kentucky 74 Indianapolis MIDWEST
4 Michigan St. 8 Kentucky
4 Michigan State 61 4 Louisville 69
Today Today
3 Iowa State 76 2:20, Ch. 10 About 5:05, Ch. 10 11 Tennessee 73
7 Connecticut 2 Michigan
7 Connecticut 81 2 Michigan 71

Florida enjoys cutting down nets, wants to cut more 03/29/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov celebrates his second-period goal against the Devils, his eighth overall, giving him goals in each of the first seven games.
  2. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  3. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  4. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  5. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you


    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.