Friday, June 22, 2018
Sports

Gators move to No. 2 in basketball polls

GAINESVILLE — The Florida men's basketball team will take the floor against Arkansas tonight for the first time as the nation's No. 2 team.

The Gators rose two spots Monday in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. It is Florida's highest AP ranking since being No. 1 on Feb. 12, 2007, the season it won a second straight national title.

Florida (18-2) is 8-0 in SEC play and on a 10-game winning streak. The Gators, who received seven first-place AP votes, are also No. 3 in this week's RPI rankings and No. 1 in the Sagarin basketball rankings. Florida is 5-2 vs. teams with an RPI Top 50, 8-2 vs. RPI Top 100.

The Florida players realize they've become a marked team.

"I think now for sure every team is going to give us their best shot," junior C Patric Young said. "Getting more recognition means that we have to be ready for everybody bringing their best shot at us. Saying that we're this or we're that. None of that stuff really matters. We've just got to take care of what we can control coming in and trying to get better each and every day."

HOME ADVANTAGE: Arkansas is 13-1 at home this season, 4-0 in SEC play. The Gators are 4-4 at Bud Walton Arena under coach Billy Donovan, but Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said Florida will be its biggest challenge to date.

"It's going to be a game where we're going to need everybody to come out and play, and play at a high level, because when you talk about Florida you talk about a team that's pegged to play in the Final Four and win a national championship and I don't see why not," Anderson said. "They have all the weapons, they're playing tremendous defensively. I think that's what gets lost when people talk about Florida and how they shoot the basketball. Billy has them playing at a high level of defense. That's to me what wins you championships."

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Florida's attempts to land junior college QB Tanner McEvoy fell short Monday when the Hillsdale, N.J., native orally committed to Wisconsin. McEvoy, a 6-6, 215-pound dual threat from Arizona Western College who threw for more than 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns, chose Wisconsin over Florida and Oregon. The Gators' two backups behind Jeff Driskel have no collegiate playing experience. But ESPN national director of recruiting Tom Luginbill said the Gators are doing just fine. National signing day is Wednesday.

"I think if there's any coach right now in the SEC that's probably having the best night's sleep over the next two days, I would actually argue that it's Will Muschamp because of what they've been able to accomplish," Luginbill said Monday. "They've been able to sustain verbal commitments for an extended period of time. They've had minimal shifts and minimal changing. We've seen guys like Quinton Powell (who had his scholarship offer pulled), of course, and some other kids, but nothing dramatic. … So hey, this is going to be one of those years where people will look at Florida's class and they will say, 'Wow, they were able to sustain long term,' which is hard to do. It's awful hard to close, but when you can sustain long term that's a very, very difficult task and I think they deserve a lot of credit for that."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, June 22

TODAYBaseballYankees at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMDodgers at Mets7 p.m.MLBMarlins at Rockies8:30 p.m.FSFCFLWinnipeg at Montreal7 p.m.ESPN2College baseball, World SeriesMississippi State vs. Oregon State3 p.m.ESPNArkansas vs. Florida8 p.m.ESPNHorsesRoy...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 10 hours ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Published: 06/21/18