ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Florida to Oxford for First SEC Road Test

By on March 20th, 2015

After outscoring in state rivals Florida State 14 to 8 the Florida baseball team will look to take down Ole Miss this weekend in their first SEC road test. Last time out against the Rebels defeated UF 7 to 6 back in 2012.

Florida will send their regular weekend rotation to the mound in Swayze Stadium in Oxford. Logan Shore will look to bounce back from a tough start last week against Tennessee in his 2015 SEC debut. Shore carries a 1.78 ERA into Friday nights game. A.J. Puk will pitch Saturday but officially Florida is a TBA for its starting pitcher on Sunday.

Ole Miss will have junior southpaw Christian Trent on the mound Friday night. Trent with three wins on the season entered 2015 on the Golden Spikes Award watch list. Ole Miss is 11 and 9 on the season and 1 and 2 in SEC play.

The Gators have four batters carrying a seven game hit streak or more heading into the weekend. Dalton Guthrie (7), Harrison Bader (11), J.J Schwarz (10), and Buddy Reed (9) all have those streaks to keep alive.

ESPN 850 WRUF has live coverage starting at 7:25 pm.

 

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SEC Teams in the Big Dance

By on March 19th, 2015

Though Kentucky is the most talked about SEC (and overall) team in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year, the Wildcats have plenty of conference company.  Five-seed Arkansas, nine-seed LSU, 10-seed Georgia, and 11-seed Ole Miss will all get their shot in the Big Dance.

Number one overall Kentucky is on a quest for perfection this year.  The Wildcats are looking to be the first team to go an undefeated 40-0 on their way to a national title.  The first stop along the way is a match-up with play-in winner Hampton.  Kentucky coach John Calipari and his team will look to sophomore guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison to help get a win.

“[they] can pass, can shoot, can pull up over a smaller guard, can rebound the ball.  They’re defending on the weak side better,” Calipari said.

Calipari will also be looking to forward Willie Cauley-Stein to keep playing to his full potential all tournament long.

“Willie, who had something to prove, that “look, I’m the best player in this league.” And I think with how he played it appeared that way,” Calipari said.

The Wildcats will try to get one step closer to perfection against 16-seed Hampton Thursday at 9:40 PM.

Arkansas, a five seed, gets its first test against 12-seed Wofford.  There is a history of 12 seeds beating five seeds in the tournament; in the last three Dances, 12-seeds have gone 8-4 against five-seeds.  But Arkansas coach Mike Anderson won’t let that affect his team’s mentality.

“I don’t look into the twelve, five seed,” Anderson said. “I look at two good teams coming from different conferences playing in the NCAA tournament.”

Coming off a loss to Kentucky for the SEC Tournament championship, Anderson and Arkansas are ready to get back on the court.

“Now you get into the survive-and advance-mode. We know the first game is very, very important,”Anderson said.

Arkansas and Wofford face off Thursday night at 9:50.

Number nine-seed LSU will face eight-seed North Carolina State in its first tournament match up.  LSU has been led all season long by their big man tandem of forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey.  But LSU coach Johnny Jones knows NC State has some good big men of their own.

“Their post guys are tremendous, very physical inside and have the ability to score the ball around the rim.  [They're] good rim protectors as well and their depth is really good,” Jones said.

This one gets underway Thursday night at 9:20.

After not making the NCAA Tournament last year, Georgia grabbed themselves a 10 seed and a match up with seven-seed Michigan State. Bulldogs coach Mark Fox knows his team will have their work cut out for them against the Spartans.

“They’ve got a lot of characteristics that contribute to their success; rebounding the ball, they’re tough minded.  I mean they have a very good team as we watch the tape,” Fox said.

He says the team will have to be great on both sides of the ball to advance.

“It will take a complete effort to win,” Fox said.

Georgia tips off against Michigan State Friday at 12:40 PM.

And rounding out SEC teams in the tournament is Ole Miss, who made an impressive 17 point comeback against BYU Monday night to get to the round of 64.  The 11 seed Rebels will now face off against six seed Xavier. The Rebels’ Stefan Moody had a team best 26 points in that comeback win, and Ole Miss will need him to carry that over to continue on in the postseason.

Ole Miss and Xavier tip off Thursday at 4:10 PM.

We’ll see who moves on and who goes home from the SEC after the first round games.

Click below to hear sound from the story:

Calipari on the Harrisons

Calipari on Cauley-Stein

Anderson on 12 and 5 seeds

Anderson previews Woffard game

Jones on NC State’s Big men

Fox on Michigan State

Fox on the keys to the game

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarterback Competition Taking Shape For The Gators

By on March 19th, 2015

Treon Harris taking first snap of practice on Wednesday.

For the first time in recent memory, quarterback Jeff Driskel is not on the Florida football team, as the senior transferred away.  So, Florida will have a new starting quarterback in 2015.  There are four gunslingers on the Florida roster, but the battle for the starting job seems to be between two players; sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier.

Harris does have the slight edge in terms of in-game experience. After an injury to Driskel in the middle of last year, Harris stepped in and won games. Out of six starts, he led the Gators to four victories. But that was under head coach Will Muschamp. Like every quarterback that has played the game, adjusting to new schemes and formations is a part of the process of playing under a new coach. Harris declares that his relationship with new head coach Jim McElwain is solid.

“We came in and we all talked and communicated. Everybody seemed liked they got along, but we just had to build that relationship.”

Will Grier, who was also a Muschamp recruit, has not played a down in the collegiate level. According to Grier, being redshirted his freshman year was planned but he was asked to be prepared every week. After a back injury, coaches ultimately decided to keep the redshirt for the entire year. At the end of the day, Grier viewed it as a blessing.

“Overall, it was a blessing. Just to get a year to work on my body, work on the mental side of the game and still get to travel…I think it helped me overall.”

Friday will mark the first practice in pads this spring for the Florida Gators. It will also be the first time being in pads under coach McElwain. Quarterback is not the only position battle on this roster, and time will tell which ones will be the closest. At this point in the spring, coach McElwain simply wants his team to learn after each day.

“The key right now is to keep loading the wagon. Come back, and reteach it again…Overall, still like the tempo, still like the way the guys are competing against each other and helping each other get better. That’s one of the things we are striving for.”

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

Grier’s take on being redshirted

Harris getting along with coaches since the beginning

Grier on what it will take to win the starting role

Harris sharing what coach McElwain has taught him so far

McElwain’s keys right now at this point of spring

McElwain on his team helping themselves by going 100% everyday

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No. 4 Florida Women’s Swimming and Diving heading to NCAA Championships

By on March 19th, 2015

Florida Women’s Swimming and Diving is getting ready to compete in the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina starting Thursday.

The Gators have 12 competitors, with six returning from last year’s championships. Florida is tied for sixth of all the schools this season in number of qualifiers.

In swimming events, juniors Natalie Hinds, Ashlee Linn, Lindsey McKnight, Taylor Roy, and Jessica Thielmann; sophomores Autumn Finke, Taylor Katz, and Alyssa Yambor-Maul; redshirt freshmen Georgia Hohmann, and Theresa Michalak; and freshman Amelia Maughan will be competing this weekend.

Florida coach Gregg Troy is confident in the talent and ability of the swimmers in the meet.

“Natalie Hinds has been a team leader all along and she’s one of the best sprinters in the country, so we feel pretty good about her. Jess Thielmann on the other end in the freestyle events. We’ve got some younger girls that have come along since they’ve been in school, and Ashlee Linn’s been tremendous in the backstroke.”

The Gators qualified in all five relay events, which they finished ninth or higher in last year. Florida is also coming in to the championships holding 12 of the top 16 times in the country.

Natalie Hinds holds three of those times. She has the 10th highest time in the 50 Free, the third highest time in the 100 Free, and the seventh highest time in the 100 Fly.

“Each year she does it she gets a little more self confident with what she’s doing, has a better feel for what’s going on.” Troy said of Hinds. “So we’re hoping she’s finally arrived at a situation where she feels very comfortable in the environment and is excited and looking forward, but everything we’ve seen has been tremendous to this point.”

The top times held by the Gators are:

50 Free – Natalie Hinds, 10th (21.90)
100 Free – Natalie Hinds, 3rd (47.26)
200 Free – Amelia Maughan, 13th (1:44.68)
500 Free – Jessica Thielmann, 5th (4:36.62)
1,650 Free – Jessica Thielmann, 3rd (15:47.95)
200 Back – Ashlee Linn, 13th (1:52.62)
100 Fly – Natalie Hinds, 7th (51.70)
200 Fly – Taylor Katz, 8th (1:54.44)
200 IM – Theresa Michalak, 8th (1:56.09)
200 IM – Lindsey McKnight, 9th (1:56.16)
200 IM – Ashlee Linn, 11th (1:56.40)
400 IM – Jessica Thielmann, 13th (4:07.90)

One diver qualified for the championships, junior Kahlia Warner. She will compete in the one-meter, three-meter, and platform events, making her the first female diver for Florida to compete in any NCAA diving event since 2011.

Warner set a program record of 326.45 in the platform finals at the SEC Championships. In the diving regionals she placed third with a combined prelim and final score of 575.55.

“We’re in a scenario where we can score in almost every event in the meet, and we feel really good about being across the board,” Troy says, “but Kahlia’s diving is going to be key in how successful we are.”

The NCAA Championships will get started on Thursday and last through Saturday. Coverage of events on Friday and Saturday will be available on ESPN3.

Click here to listen to head coach Gregg Troy talk about the team:

Troy talks about which swimmers he expects to perform well

Troy talks about Natalie Hinds and her experience in the championships

Troy talks about Kahlia Warner and her impact in diving

Posted in Gator Swimming and Diving | Leave a comment

Thursday Sports Update (3/19)

By on March 19th, 2015

March Madness begins in earnest; Gator football, NIT and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** March Madness begins in earnest today at venues across the country.   Ole Miss plays Xavier, NC State faces LSU, Kentucky takes on Hampton and Arkansas faces Wofford.

** In action in the NCAA Tournament last night, Dayton nips Boise State 56-55 and Robert Morris downs North Florida 81-77.

** In the NIT, Vanderbilt downs St. Mary’s 75-64.

** The Gator football team will next have spring practice on Friday and head coach Jim McElwain says he is looking to see what his team can do in pads.

** Former Gator Percy Harvin has officially signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills.

** In the NBA, Dallas downs Orlando 107-102 while Miami beats Portland 108-104.

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Florida Spears Seminoles in a Tuesday Night Baseball Shootout

By on March 18th, 2015

It was an electric atmosphere at McKethan Stadium Tuesday night as the Florida baseball team played host to in-state rival Florida State. Florida was able to defeat the Noles in one of the highest scoring games this season, winning 14-8 to improve to 19-3 on the season.

Florida’s head coach Kevin O’Sullivan knows home field advantage helped them out Tuesday night.

“The atmosphere was great, I appreciate all the fans coming out. Kind of had an indication that it was going to be a great night.”

Both teams wasted no time hopping on the scoreboard early in this one. The Noles took the lead in the top of the first after Taylor Walls and John Sansone reached home in the inning.

Florida would poise themselves in the bottom half of the inning when Harrison Bader tripled in a run and Josh Tobias followed with an RBI single.  Later in the inning, Jeremy Vasquez had a two run double as Florida scored five runs in the inning.

After the game Bader talked about this team being able to bounce back when they needed it.

“It’s the nature of our team, it’s our mentality. Some pitchers aren’t gonna make pitches some innings but you know what, it’s our job as hitters to pick them up.”

The Orange and Blue kept the pedal to the metal in the second inning when they tacked on another run on a Bader sacrifice fly that scored freshman Dalton Guthrie; Guthrie has now hit in 12 of his last 13 appearances.

Florida State would claw their way back in the third inning when Chris Marconcini doubled to drive in one and Dylan Busby sent home two more to make it a 6-5 game.

The score was tied 7-7 when Florida scored three runs in the fifth inning.  Ryan Larson singled home Vasquez who had doubled to plate the first run.  Guthrie singled and Richie Martin reached on an error.  Martin later touched home on a nifty double steal and Bader picked up another RBI with a sacrifice fly to give Florida a lead it would not give up.

Florida put the game away in the seventh when freshman JJ Schwarz put a dagger in the Noles with a three run homer to deep left.

Schwarz discussed his homer.

“Well it was a hitters count, so I was just looking for a fastball and he put it right where I wanted it. It just worked out.”

In all 13 different pitchers between both teams saw action on the mound. Florida starter Eric Hanhold gave up five runs in just two and a third innings pitched.  Mike Vinson, the fourth of seven pitchers used by Florida, got the win in relief as he improves to 2-0 on the year.

Next up Florida will take on Ole Miss in Oxford this weekend in their second SEC series this season.

Sound from the game, click below.

Kevin O’Sullivan 2

Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan 3

Kevin O’Sullivan 4

Kevin O’Sullivan 5

Harrison Bader 4

Harrison Bader 1

Harrison Bader 2

Harrison Bader 3

JJ Schwarz

 

 

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Florida Football Opens Up Spring Practice

By on March 17th, 2015

If there was one word to describe the first spring practice for the Florida Gator football team on Monday, it would be fast. Right out of the gate, players were juiced with energy and offensive guard Antonio Riles is glad with the way things are heading.

“I like the direction everybody’s going. I like the way thing’s are going. I think we took the right step in the right direction.”

This first spring practice marks the first time Jim McElwain held a practice as Florida’s head coach. McElwain was hired back in December to replace then head coach and now Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. McElwain has proven success in the SEC as offensive coordinator of Alabama for the 2009 and 2011 championship teams. McElwain shared what he thinks makes a team successful.

“I don’t really have any magic potions here. The key is invest in yourself, give up yourself for the benefit of others, and be accountable for everything you do. Your actions speak louder than words.”

A lot of questions are surrounding the Florida offensive line. The Gators lost Max Garcia, Chaz Green, DJ Humphries and others because of graduation and the NFL Draft. Coach McElwain was able to recruit one of the best offensive linemen in the 2015 recruiting class in Martez Ivey. Ivey will be coming to campus this August. Sophomore offensive tackle David Sharpe says he is going to tell Ivey that the transition from high school to college is going to be difficult.

“It is going to be difficult to come in and play. Coach Summers (Gator offensive line coach) is going to have to gain your trust. He goes with trust over ability.”

The defensive line lost a lot of big players as well, most notably Dante Fowler Jr. who could be a top five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Darius Cummings, Gerald Willis III, and Leon Orr are no longer on the roster. Players like defensive tackle Joey Ivie are expected to gain a bigger role in the rotation. Ivie simply wants to be a leader through his actions.

“Me personally, I want to lead by working hard. Not quitting. Showing all these younger guys what effort does for you.”

The next practice will be on Wednesday.

For full quotes of audio clips above and more, click below:

McElwain likes the way the team is coming together

McElwain thought team communication was good

McElwain’s keys to being successful

Riles is glad to be back on the field

Sharpe on what he is going to tell Martez Ivey

Holley shared his thoughts on McElwain

Ivie wants to lead by example

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Rivalry Renewed Tuesday Night For Florida Baseball

By on March 17th, 2015

The 18-3 Florida baseball team will host in state rival and 11th ranked Florida State tonight.  The Orange and Blue are coming off a weekend where they took two of three games from Tennessee in an SEC series.   FSU is 17-4 on the year.

Florida will start Eric Hanhold on the mound; he has not given up a run this season in three appearances on the hill. The righty has a 1-0 record and has given up just two hits all season.

Florida State has not defeated UF since the 2013 season after the Gators swept the three games played last year, outscoring the Seminoles 15-2 in those games.

You can hear the game live tonight at 6:55 pm on Country 103-7 The Gator.

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Tuesday Sports Update (3/17)

By on March 17th, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!   We’ll talk Gator sports, NCAA women’s hoops, Tim Tebow and more today!

** The Gator baseball team hosts FSU tonight for the first of three games between the teams.   UF is 18-3; FSU 17-4.

** Gator lacrosse hosts Stony Brook tonight as well; UF is coming off a loss at top ranked Maryland.

** Gator football spring practice continues this week after the first day of practice takes place yesterday.   No major surprises.

** Former Gator quarterback Tim Tebow works out for the Philadelphia Eagles but there are no plans to sign him right away.

** Connecticut, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland are number one seeds for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

** Miami downs Cleveland 106-92 in NBA action as Dwyane Wade scores 32 points.

 

 

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5 SEC Teams Dance into March Madness; Kentucky still head of the Class

By on March 16th, 2015

In an announcement that shocked exactly zero people paying attention, the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (34-0) were crowned as the number one overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

They’ll be joined by four other SEC teams, 5th seeded Arkansas (who lost to Kentucky 78-63 in the conference tournament championship yesterday), 9th seeded LSU, 10th seeded Georgia and 11th seeded Ole Miss, who will play in the first four game against BYU tomorrow evening.

While rooting against Kentucky has become a national passtime for most outside of the Big Blue Nation, ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas says the Wildcats embody the true spirit of college basketball.

Jay Bilas

Kentucky (Midwest) is joined at the top by fellow number one seeds Wisconsin (West), Villanova (East) and Duke (South). Bilas also says despite the relative strength at the top of the bracket, this is one of the weakest fields in recent memory.

Jay Bilas

One of those lower seeded teams that looks strong as they push their way into the tournament is Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team, who after losing to Wisconsin in overtime of the Big Ten Championship yesterday, enter as a seven seed. If you’re looking for a dark horse to make a run, ESPN College Basketball Analyst Dick Vitale says look no further than Sparty.

Dick Vitale

All your SEC schedules in the first round of the tournament are as follows:

11 Ole Miss vs. 11 BYU: (First Four – 9:10 pm Tuesday)
9 LSU vs. 8 NC State: (9:20 pm Thursday)
1 Kentucky vs. 16 Manhattan/Hampton (9:40 pm Thursday)
5 Arkansas vs. 12 Wofford (9:50 pm Thursday)
10 Georgia vs. 7 Michigan State (12:40 Friday)

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