The Back Nine comes at you after a very nice weekend that included a lot of golf and swimming. My goal this summer is to do one or the other every day it doesn’t rain. It’s not much of a goal.
10. Let’s start off with the gutsy performance by the women’s track team in winning the SEC Outdoors this weekend. Mouse Holloway kind of likes being in the corner of the Lemerand Building and away from the clutter. All he does is find great athletes and turn them into winners. Florida won this competition with depth as 12 of the 15 athletes who qualified and were nor injured scored points. That included Parker Valby scoring valuable points in the 1500 meters and she was competing for the first time since January. SEC titles still mean something around here so we send out a loud “WELL DONE!” to the women’s track team.
11. We also know that Florida won two of three at Missouri to lock in a trip to Hoover and getting to 13 conference wins pretty much locks the Gators into the NCAA Tournament. Florida still has a chance to host but needs to beat FSU (UF is 16th, FSU 17th in RPI) and win the South Carolina series to close the regular season. There are different levels of talent in this league this year and when Florida started playing teams closer to its level, the Gators started to take off. But it’s also the maturation process of the young players on the team and you have to give Kevin O’Sullivan some credit for keeping what looked like a fragile team together.
12. And we also know that softball will be hosting as the No. 14 seed and faces Canisius. Don’t look for a lot of home runs in the regional because the four teams have combined for only 113. There are two TEAMS that have more home runs and five teams this season that already have hit more than 100. Canisius has 16 which ranks 234th in home runs per game. Should Florida win the regional, it would likely travel to Virginia Tech for the Supers, but let’s see how it all plays out.
13. Men’s tennis continues its march towards a second straight NCAA title reaching the quarterfinals. The Gators will face Virginia Thursday at 8 p.m. in Champaign, Ill. The women lost to No. 1 North Carolina in the Sweet 16.
14. And a shout out to the lacrosse team, which is still alive in the NCAAs, heading to the quarterfinals at No. 2 Maryland for a noon game on Thursday. The Gators carry a 15-game winning streak into that one.
15. There is nothing like a Game 7 and we had seven over the weekend in the NBA and NHL. And when the basketball’s stopped bouncing and the Final Four was set, Florida was assured of having a player win a ring again this year. It will be Udonis Haslem, Dorian Finney-Smith, Chris Chiozza or Al Horford, who has been a beast in the playoffs. Haslem doesn’t play much for the Heat but he has a chance to win his fourth NBA title.
16. It’s another major in golf and because Tiger Woods is on the ground at Southern Hills you know we will be watching. But can any of us go into it not picking Scottie Scheffler to win his second major? I can. I’d like to take Jordan Spieth, but I am going with Justin Thomas, which means you should not take him in your pool. I have a bad history making picks in majors.
17. Just a programming note, the softball game Friday will mean no Tailgate Show but we will be there the rest of the week. And then I am going to take a few days off, so no Back Nine next week. After the golf tournament and a lot of other crazy stuff, I need some time off. This “being retired” stuff is about to wear me out.
18. It feels like this is the time of year when you need to have a good playlist at all times. Whether it’s the pool or beach or golf course of being on a boat. Or is that just me? Here’s my latest:
* “Lady-O” by Judee Sill.
* ”Tek It” by Cafune’.
* And for an old one, “The Answer” by the Moody Blues which I sing in the car and thankfully nobody can hear me.